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The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: April 20

2. Roche, Ross and Rachel

Sorry folks, but we have lost all interest in Roche's courtship of Illumina (ILMN - Get Report) and are officially changing the channel. Like the on-again, off-again TV romances between Ross and Rachel on Friends and Sam and Diane on Cheers, the thrill of this real-life corporate chase has devolved into highly unwatchable -- and ultimately predictable -- sit-com stupidity.

Roche CEO Severin Schwan announced Wednesday that his company's $51 a share, $6.7 billion offer to buy Illumina will expire on April 20, thereby ending the drugmaker's three-month quest to acquire the genetics giant.

Illumina's stock sank as low as $40 per share on the news; although most of the hot money had already started to seep out of the stock last week when it became clear that Illumina was indeed serious about rebuffing Roche's bid.

"We continue to hold Illumina and its management in very high regard but, with access only to public information about Illumina's business and prospects, we do not believe that a price above Roche's offer for Illumina of $51 per share would be in the interest of Roche's shareholders," said Schwan in a statement.

Oh, poor Severin. Illumina remains the Apple of his eye, but the company just won't open itself up to him. (Well, for that matter Illumina considers itself the Apple of its own eye, calling itself "the Apple of the genomics business," but still.)

Maybe if he wasn't so darn desperate all the time, he would get the girl, or in this case the genomics company, much earlier. Remember that a mere three weeks ago, Roche raised its price to $51 a share from $44.50.

And just last week Roche wrote a love letter to Illumina shareholders, telling them that its sweetened offer was a "starting point for negotiations."

Come on guys! Can't you play it cool just once? If $51 was last week's "starting point," why on earth should Ilumina shareholders believe that it's this week's ending point? Clearly with that type of loose talk the brass at Illumina will think there is a higher price on the way, even without rival bidders joining the fray.

And even if other suitors do pop up, we highly doubt Roche will be deterred from its goal. Seriously, did you ever really think that Rachel was going to end up with Joey? Or Diane with Frasier Crane?

Of course not!

Look, these two crazy kids will get together in the end. Everybody knows that eventually time -- and money -- conquers all. The same nonsense occurred during Roche's respective hook-ups with Genentech and Ventana. It's in their character.

And what happens in the very odd event they don't wind up hitched?

Don't worry. Unlike network TV, we guarantee you that in this case the spin-offs will be far more comical than the original show. With these guys, it has to be.
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