Illumina abandons $1.2 billion deal to buy rival Pacific Biosciences

FILE PHOTO: The offices of gene sequencing company Illumina Inc are shown in San Diego, California January 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) - Illumina Inc ILMN.O on Thursday agreed to terminate the $1.2 billion deal to buy smaller rival Pacific Biosciences of California Inc PACB.O, 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.

Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta