Roche extends hostile $5.7-billion offer for Illumina

Roche today extended its $5.7-billion hostile bid for US-based gene sequencing company Illumina without sweetening the rejected offer as the Swiss drugmaker plays a waiting game as part of its past successful acquisition strategy.

Roche extended its $44.50 a share offer for the San Diego, California-based gene-mapping company until 23 March, which Illumina had earlier this month rejected as being ''grossly inadequate.'' (See: Illumina rejects Roche's $5.7- bn hostile bid)

Illumina shares have traded above the offer price since Roche announced the proposed hostile takeover on 25 January, and ended at $51.22 on Friday, 24 February.

Roche said that shareholders of Illumina have tendered about 102,165 shares of a total of 122.3 million outstanding shares, an extremely low number of shares, according to analysts.

Responding to Roche's extension, Illumina said that "an extremely low number of shares have been tendered, consistent with our view….. and that of our stockholders …… that Roche's offer does not reflect Illumina unique leadership position, business performance and future prospects."

Analysts expect the Basel, Switzerland-based drugmaker to hike its offer to $60-$65 a share if it is serious about concluding the deal.