The UK government has approved a US private equity firm’s takeover of UK defence and aerospace company Cobham, which employs 10,000 people and has extensive contracts with the British military and is known for its air-to-air refueling technology. While shareholders had previously approved US Advent’s offer, the government intervened in the takeover, citing national security concerns. Recently UK Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said she was satisfied the risks that had been identified had been mitigated “to an acceptable level” – and allowed the deal to go ahead. One defence analyst remarked on the timing of the decision (just before 10pm on a Friday) as if the government wanted no-one to notice and a founding family member commented that the timing was “cynically timed to avoid scrutiny on the weekend before Christmas” and “In Cobham we stand to lose yet another great British defence manufacturer to foreign ownership.” The deal was for £4bn. BBC news has the full story here.

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