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Press Release Published: Oct 23, 2023

Comer Probes FTC’s Improper Consulting with European Officials to Block Illumina-Grail Merger

WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) is today reiterating requests to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for information to assist in ongoing oversight of the FTC’s coordination with foreign officials. In a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan, Chairman Comer seeks documents and communications from the FTC related to the merger of Illumina, Inc., an American biotechnology company, and cancer detection maker GRAIL, Inc., after emails uncovered reveal FTC colluded with European counterparts to block the acquisition.  

“Based on emails uncovered by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, it appears that the FTC has colluded with European counterparts to block the transaction. This is a troubling misuse of the FTC’s authority and undermines American law and the due process rights of American companies,” Chairman Comer wrote.

In an August 2023 letter to top officials at the FTC, Chairman Comer requested documents and information related to emails released earlier this year as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request which raised concern about FTC improperly consulting with European officials to block the Illumina-Grail merger. Chairman Comer warned that these actions undermine U.S. business interests and is investigating whether the FTC has overstepped the bounds of its role in protecting American consumers and the American marketplace.

“It is imperative that the FTC make decisions regarding mergers and acquisitions between U.S. companies independently, transparently, and pursuant to U.S. law. However, it appears that the FTC has leveraged European authorities to help the FTC achieve its goal to unwind the merger. The FTC’s actions set a bad precedent that emboldens foreign governments to attack American businesses. By deferring to foreign entities’ approaches to certain transactions, the FTC is improperly denying U.S. businesses the due process rights they are entitled to before the FTC and American courts. American businesses must be able to rely on a fair and transparent legal process, grounded in American law, when U.S. authorities pursue actions against them,” Chairman Comer continued.

Read the full letter to Federal Trade Commission Chair here.

READ MORE: Comer Furthers Federal Trade Commission Oversight with Probe into Engagement with EU Officials

Comer Probes Federal Trade Commission Chair Khan’s Abuses of Power