EU disappointed at Illumina decision to close Grail deal despite antitrust probe

BRUSSELS, Aug 19 (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators said on Thursday they were disappointed by U.S. life sciences company Illumina’s decision to complete its takeover of cancer detection test maker Grail while an EU investigation is still ongoing.

The European Commission, which acts as the competition watchdog for the 27-country European Union, said in an emailed response to Reuters queries that the standstill obligation under EU merger rules was of great importance and breaches lead to an investigation resulting in fines.

Illumina on Wednesday said it had closed the deal, treating Grail as a separate company while awaiting the result of the EU investigation.

“The Commission takes note of the announcement and regrets the decision by Illumina,” the Commission said in its email. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Susan Fenton)