On October 29 2021, the European Commission (EC) adopted interim measures as part of a gun-jumping investigation launched with the aim of preventing the early completion of the acquisition of US cancer screening test development company Grail by the genetic sequencing system supplier Illumina Group, pending a final decision by the Commission on the deal, which is due to be handed down in February 2022.
This intervention is the first of its kind since the entry into force in 2004 of Regulation N°139/2004 on merger control.
This is a simple, but very firm reminder of the principle of suspensive effect under which a transaction cannot be completed before having been authorized by the relevant competition authority. The Commission is sending a strong signal to businesses, that it will no longer hesitate to intervene and, in a manner of speaking, prevent companies from crossing that red line before they have been given the green light.
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