This recent FTC action seems kind of strange, coming 10 years after the fact. Anyone understand this?UPDATE 2-FTC probes Immucor's past acquisitions; shares downFri Oct 26, 2007 1:09pm EDTBy Jennifer Robin RajBANGALORE, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Medical equipment maker Immucor Inc (BLUD.O: Quote, Profile, Research) said the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether the company violated antitrust laws on some acquisitions it made in the late 90's, sending its shares down as much as 14 percent. The FTC inquiry comes close on the heels of a probe by the U.S. Securities Exchange and Commission into alleged improper payments to certain Italian physicians by its Italian subsidiary and Chief Executive Gioacchino De Chirico.The FTC is investigating whether Immucor violated federal antitrust laws on three acquisitions between 1996 and 1999 and whether it engaged in unfair pricing in the marketplace.Immucor's General Counsel and Secretary Phil Moise said by phone the probe relates to the acquisitions of Canada-based Dominion Biologicals Ltd in 1996, Gamma Biologicals Inc in 1998, and the purchase of the blood bank assets of Biopool International Inc in 1999.In its 1999 annual report, Immucor had said it had become the market leader in North America in terms of sales after the acquisitions of Gamma and Biopool's blood bank assets.The company had also stated that subsequent to the acquisitions, its sole U.S. competitor in blood banking reagents was Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, a unit of a Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N: Quote, Profile, Research).Gamma, which was acquired for $27.3 million, was described in the report as the third largest domestic blood bank serology company before the acquisition.Prior to 1999, Gamma and Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics were stated in its annual reports as primary U.S. competitors for blood bank reagents.In its latest annual report for 2007, Immucor said Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics remains its main competitor in the U.S."We have been the North American market leader since 1999," the report stated.The company said in a statement that it intends to cooperate with the trade regulator and does not know how the inquiry will affect its business.Shares of the company recovered some of their early losses and were trading down more than 9 percent to $32.00 in afternoon trade on the Nasdaq.
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