23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki considers taking company private

Signage at 23andMe headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Anne Wojcicki, the CEO of 23andMe, is considering a proposal to take the genetic testing company private after its stock price tumbled more than 95% from its 2021 highs.

A late Wednesday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission said Wojcicki is working with advisors and plans to speak with possible financing sources and partners. She “wishes to maintain control” of the company and will “not be willing to support any alternative transaction,” the filing said.

The former billionaire co-founded 23andMe in 2006, and the company rocketed into the mainstream because of its at-home DNA testing kits that give customers insight into their family histories and genetic profiles. 23andMe went public in 2021 via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, which valued the company at around $3.5 billion.

But 23andMe has struggled to generate steady recurring revenue since customers only needed to take its DNA test once to get their results. The stock closed at around 51 cents per share Thursday.

In November, 23andMe received a deficiency letter from the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Department, which said the company had 180 days to bring its share price back above $1. The company’s board of directors formed a “Special Committee” in late March to help explore options that could juice the stock.

A press release on Thursday said the committee was made aware of Wojcicki’s interest in acquiring all of 23andMe’s outstanding shares. Wojcicki owns shares that make up more than 20% of those outstanding, which equates to about 49% of voting power, the release said.

“The Special Committee will carefully review Ms. Wojcicki’s proposal when and if it is made available and evaluate it in light of other available strategic alternatives, including continuing to operate as a publicly traded company,” the committee said in the release. “The Special Committee is committed to acting in the best interests of 23andMe and its shareholders.”

The committee has engaged Wells Fargo as its financial advisor, and it said there is “no assurance” that Wojcicki’s offer would result in the proposed outcome.

23andMe declined to comment beyond the release.

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