Record fine set to hit Illumina

 In Business, Finance

The EU will charge gene-sequencing giant Illumina with a record fine, according to the Financial Times. The expected penalty of $435 million, or 10% of the company’s revenue, comes after San Diego-based Illumina bought Silicon Valley cancer screening startup Grail for $8 billion before the European Commission concluded an investigation into whether the deal was anti-competitive. The EC later prohibited the merger. Regulators hope the fine’s heft gives pause to other companies looking to complete deals before receiving approval. Illumina intends to appeal the fine.

  • The news adds to Illumina’s troubles, which include its CEO resigning in June after a proxy battle with Carl Icahn.
  • Illumina’s market value dropped almost $35 billion since it acquired Grail in August 2021.


By Todd Dybas, Editor at LinkedIn News


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So, Illumina market cap down by $4B in just the last two weeks. I’m no analyst but I’d say the reason is clear: no new CEO, so the company is a supertanker running full tilt through the night on autopilot – robotically executing plans laid months and years ago: $100M RIF, fight antitrust to the Supreme Court, no Grail divestment. etc etc. Absolutely nothing has changed.

It’s been nearly four months since Icahn moved on illumina. Given his track record there was a high probability the company would need a new CEO in the near future. So why wasn’t there a search underway months ago: recruiter retained, names collected, opinions given, quiet conversations had? I mean, Icahn was yelling into the world’s biggest megaphone that he was out to get Francis…

I think the root of the problem is that the committee – nom/gov – responsible for CEO succession failed to stand up to Francis, who undoubtedly didn’t want the issue addressed. They’d already displayed their weakness by letting Francis choose his pal John as chair, a terrible decision as verified by both ISS and Glass Lewis. And that’s why Icahn targeted nom/gov’s chair for (so far unsuccessful) firing: “Robert S. Epstein, as he is the Chairman of the Company’s Governance Committee, and we believe that the Company has a terrible track record with respect to corporate governance matters”.

Now investors and employees are paying a further price for committee’s weakness: a 10,000 person company with no CEO, and no announced timeline for finding one. (Not to mention picking a recruiter no one has heard of, who’s first public act was to praise Francis. Don’t get me started🙄).

I hope the new chair and (longed for) CEO hold all four members of the nom/gov committee accountable for this now-infamous ( failure of governance; Mr Icahn does not strike me as someone that does these things on a whim.

chart, line chart
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