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Cobham Takeover Suspended

The UK government suspended the takeover of Cobham, one of the pioneers of British aviation.

The UK government has intervened in the proposed sale of defence contractor Cobham plc to the US private equity fund Advent International on national security grounds.

Earlier, family members of company founder Alan Cobham, one of the pioneers of British aviation, asked the government to stop the takeover.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Andrea Leadsom has issued an intervention notice and asked the Competition & Markets Authority to investigate the deal.

"Following careful consideration of the proposed takeover of Cobham, I have issued an intervention notice on the grounds of national security," said Ms Leadsom.

Cobham was established in 1934. The company is engaged in the development and production of aerospace and military equipment and electronic systems, including air-to-air plane refuelling, electronic warfare systems, and training military personnel to use software platforms in missile destroyers and fighter jets.

In July, the Cobham’s board approved the sale of the company to the American investment fund Advent International for $4 billion.

Several shareholders voted against the takeover, as well as family members of the founder of Cobham. The latter turned to the government asking to protect the company, because “Advent will break up Cobham and sell off its parts to the highest bidder”.

The company's shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and it is not controlled by Alan Cobem’s descendants.

The Competition & Markets Authority will now prepare a report on the national security aspects of the proposed transaction by October 29.

Published: September 18, 2019