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The Associated Press April 6, 2012, 2:58PM ET

Illumina says firms recommend against Roche offer

Illumina Inc., which makes instruments for genetic analysis, said Friday that two shareholder advisory firms are recommending that Illumina shareholders reject Roche Holding AG's offer to buy the company.

Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. said the Swiss drugmaker's offer of $51 per share, or about $6.5 billion, is inadequate, and it is advising Illumina shareholders to vote reject the bid.

Illumina said Egan-Jones Ratings Co. also recommends that shareholders reject Roche Holding AG's proposals and support the board candidates Illumina has nominated instead of Roche's choices.

In January, Roche went public with an offer to buy Illumina for $5.7 billion, or $44.50 per share. Illumina said that price was too low, and Roche responded in late March with a bigger offer.

Illumina said the new offer remains insufficient, and it accused Roche of trying to take advantage of a decline in the company's share price in late 2010.

Roche said Friday that it is disappointed with the ISS recommendation, and said its offer is a sufficient basis for talks between the companies. It said it would be willing to raise its bid again if Illumina will start talks.

After Roche took its offer public, Illumina adopted a "poison pill" shareholder rights measure intended to ward off unwanted attempts to acquire the company. Roche has nominated a slate of directors to Illumina's board as part of its effort to gain control of the company.

Shares of Illumina closed at $52.33 on Thursday, and U.S. stock markets were closed Friday.

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