The British government has given its go-ahead for a $5.2 billion takeover of UK defence and aerospace company Cobham by the US private equity firm Advent International.
British Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said on Saturday that the move had been "meticulously thought over" and that it came after she consulted the country’s Defence Secretary and the Deputy National Security Adviser.
"Having considered the consultation responses and further advice from the defence secretary, I am satisfied that the undertakings mitigate the national security risks identified to an acceptable level and have therefore accepted them and cleared the merger to proceed”, Leadsom pointed out.
She pledged that Cobham-related sensitive government information would be protected under the new owner and the company’s existing contracts with the UK military would be implemented.
Cobham Founder's Widow Concerned About Takeover Deal
The statement comes after the widow of company founder Sir Michael Cobham voiced alarm earlier this year over the takeover agreement which she insisted may ride roughshod over the UK Royal Air Force’s refuelling capability in the years to come.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Lady Nadine Cobham made it clear that she is unwilling to accept Advent International’s assurances on its plans pertaining to Cobham.
"I don't think it would be worth the paper it's written on”, she said.
Wimborne-based Cobham employs about 10,000 people and is seen as a world leader in technology that allows planes to conduct mid-air refuelling, which is thought to be of great importance to modern warfare.
Additionally, Cobham deals with manufacturing electronic warfare systems and military vehicle-related communications.