Pacific Biosciences of C... (NASDAQ:PACB)
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By Brent Kendall
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday challenged Illumina Inc.'s. proposed acquisition of Pacific Biosciences of California, a $1.2 billion deal in the life-sciences industry.
The FTC is bringing an administrative lawsuit alleging the biotech acquisition would allow Illumina to unlawfully maintain a monopoly in next-generation DNA sequencing by eliminating PacBio as a nascent competitor.
The next-gen sequencing is a rapidly expanding technology used in genetic research and clinical testing, and PacBio has been making advancements that making it a growing threat to Illumina, the market leader, the FTC alleged.
The FTC said the acquisition would eliminate both current and future competition between San Diego-based Illumina and PacBio, based in Menlo Park, Calif.
"When a monopolist buys a potential rival, it can harm competition," said Gail Levine, deputy director of the FTC's bureau of competition. "These deals help monopolists maintain power."
The commission plans to hold full legal proceedings in its own administrative court but also said it would file a concurrent action in federal court if necessary to block the deal temporarily.
"We strongly disagree with the FTC's decision and will continue to work through the regulatory approval process as we consider next steps," an Illumina spokesman said. "We believe that the acquisition will benefit the industry and customers."
Illumina announced the deal in November 2018.
The lawsuit comes as the FTC has faced growing criticism for allowing large, market-leading companies to buy up potential future rivals, particularly in the tech sector.
The commission is now scrutinizing past tech acquisitions made by Facebook Inc. as part of its investigation into the social media giant.
Write to Brent Kendall at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 17, 2019 17:15 ET (22:15 GMT)
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