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Illumina Shares Fall 8 Percent After Roche Nixes Acquisition Rumors

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - Illumina shares were down more than 8 percent in mid-morning trade today following a report from a German newspaper in which a Roche official said that an acquisition of the San Diego-based company is "off the table."

At press time, Illumina shares were trading at $49.77, down from their Friday close of $54.76.

Roche Chairman Franz Humer said in an interview with Germany's SonntagsZeitung that the company has no plans to acquire Illumina, which he characterized as a "nice to have" but not a "must have."

Humer's comments contradict a December report from Swiss newspaper L'Agefi that said Roche was planning a $66-per-share offer for Illumina.

Humer also told the German paper that Roche CEO Severin Schwan will not be appointed chairman of the company's board.

Ross Muken, senior managing director of ISI Group, said in a research note that Humer's comments do not rule out Roche "returning to Illumina as a targeted asset in the future," but only in the medium term.

Roche originally announced its hostile takeover bid for Illumina last January, offering $44.50 per share for a total value of $5.7 billion. It later raised its offer to $51 per share, or $6.7 billion, but Illumina rejected the deal.