On 25 July 2019, the boards of Cobham PLC and a subsidiary of funds managed by Advent International, a US private equity firm, announced that they had reached agreement on the terms of a recommend cash acquisition of Cobham for approximately £4 billion.
On 17 September 2019, following advice from relevant Government Departments and agencies, the Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom initiated a public interest intervention under the Enterprise Act 2002 into this merger on the grounds of national security. She required that the Competition and Markets Authority investigate the merger and provide her with a report on the transaction by 29 October, which it has done. The Secretary of State for Defence has also written to the Business Secretary about the national security implications of the merger and the discussions which have taken place with the parties to propose undertakings to address those implications. The Business Secretary is grateful for the advice she has received and the constructive engagement from the parties.
The decision on how to proceed in this case requires further full and proper consideration of the issues. Having received these reports, the Business Secretary will therefore have further discussions with her ministerial colleagues and the parties to the transaction to inform the decision-making process. An update will be provided in due course on the government’s decision. The full legal process will continue to be followed throughout the general election period.
Published 5 November 2019