On 25 July 2019, Cobham, a UK defence company, announced that it had agreed an arrangement to be taken over by a subsidiary of Advent International, a US private equity firm, in a deal worth approximately £4 billion.
Under the Enterprise Act 2002, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has the power to intervene in mergers on public interest grounds relating to national security. This responsibility is discharged in a quasi-judicial capacity, which means that the Secretary of State must act, and be seen to act, in a scrupulously fair and impartial manner.
On 17 September 2019, acting on official advice, the Secretary of State issued a European intervention notice to intervene in the proposed sale on national security grounds.
The CMA will now prepare a report on the national security aspects of the proposed transaction. The CMA has until midnight at the end of 29 October 2019 to complete and submit this report to the Secretary of State.
See the related news story.