Illumina continues to resist Roche takeover

Company files definitive proxy materials and sends letter to stockholders urging them to protect the value of their investment by rejecting Roche's unsolicited acquisition attempt

Jeffrey Bouley
SAN DIEGO—There is now finally a date for the annual meeting of stockholders for Illumina Inc.: April 18. And with that date, a reassertion to the company's shareholders that they should reject an attempt by Roche to acquire the company.
 
Illumina announced March 19 that it had filed definitive proxymaterials with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in connection withits 2012 annual meeting of stockholders, setting the April 2012 date with that filing.
 
In addition, Illumina's board of directors sent aletter urging stockholders to "protect the value of their investment byrejecting Roche's unsolicited and opportunistic efforts to acquire Illumina ongrossly inadequate terms" and adding that t
he board recommends stockholders "vote for theelection of Illumina's highly qualified nominees" rather than voting
—as Roche has urged—to expand the size of the board and vote in Roche's choice for members, which would give it control of the board.
 
Illumina began its letter to shareholders by saying the company "is a market leader in tools for genetic analysis at atime when our industry as a whole—and Illumina in particular—has thepotential to experience extraordinary growth." Genomics advances and personalized medicine are just two areas that have led the market to what Illumina calls "a breakthrough point"  where Illumina can be at the forefront.

Once again, Illumina called Roche's offer of $44.50 per share a "blatantly opportunistic hostile offer" at a price "significantly below where our stockprice was only a few months ago."
 
Further stoking the rhetoric, Illumina wrote, "We alone have succeeded in a marketplace thathas witnessed numerous attempts by others to establish viable sequencing andarray businesses, none of which have achieved a similar level of success. Infact, one of the reasons Roche is desperate to acquire Illumina is that Roche'sown efforts in our market have severely disappointed."
 
Roche, for its part, had no comment as of the end of day that Illumina had issued the media release about the proxy materials, meeting date and shareholder letter.

Jeffrey Bouley

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