Illumina abandons $1.2 billion deal to buy rival Pacific Biosciences

Key Points
  • Gene sequencing company Illumina has called off its effort to buy smaller rival Pacific Biosciences.
  • Antitrust authorities in the U.S. and U.K. had been scrutinizing the deal, the companies said.
  • Illumina had a small round of layoffs in September after slashing its full-year guidance in July.
Illumina, Pacific Biosciences terminate merger agreement
Illumina, Pacific Biosciences terminate merger agreement

Gene sequencing company Illumina on Thursday agreed to terminate the $1.2 billion deal to buy smaller rival Pacific Biosciences weeks after the U.S. competition watchdog filed a complaint to block the purchase.

Gene sequencing company Illumina would pay Pacific Biosciences $98 million for the terminated deal, which was announced in 2018 and had attracted scrutiny from antitrust authorities in the United States and UK, both the companies said in a joint statement.

Illumina is a major player in the nascent gene sequencing space, which involves analyzing the genome, and can among other uses, identify inherited disorders and markers of disease progression.

In its complaint last month, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission raised concerns that Illumina wanted the deal in order to prevent Pacific Biosciences from developing into a competitor in the market for next-generation DNA sequencing.

Illumina laid off 58 people from its staff of more than 8,000 in September, according to publicly available filings previously reported by CNBC, after shares took a hit in July when the company slashed its full-year guidance and previewed disappointing second-quarter revenue.

CNBC contributed to this report.