Roche Disappointed Over Illumina 'Poison Pill'

By FOXBusiness

Gene sequencing company Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) adopted a “poison pill” on Thursday to defend against a hostile $5.7 billion bid from Swiss drug maker Roche.

Roche, which is standing by its bid price, said it is “disappointed that the Illumina board has been unwilling to participating in substantive discussions,” though not surprised.

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The $44.50 a share offer announced on Wednesday represents a premium of 64% to Illumina shareholders from Dec. 21, the last day of trading before the proposed deal was made public.

In a filing, Illumina said it adopted the defense mechanism in order to “protect stockholders from coercive or otherwise unfair takeover tactics,” in what marked its first public move since Roche’s offer earlier this week.

The plan typically allows a shareholder other than the bidder to buy more shares at a discount, with the goal of either staving off a bidder or forcing it higher.

While it appears to be an uphill battle, the deal, if successful, would boost Roche’s diagnostics unit to a leading position, a growing area of medicine that is becoming more and more critical as gene sequencing continues to advance.