When Boris Johnson defended the ￡4bn takeover of Cobham by a US private equity firm two years ago2021, the prime minister could not have foreseen the rush of foreign suitors knocking on the doors of other companies in the UK aerospace and defence sector.
In the past three monthst doing much better., takeover proposals worth almost ￡10bn on a combined basis have been made for three British defence companies: Ultra ElectronicsThe end of May., Meggitt and Senior.
Of these, only Senior has repelled its suitor, the US private equity firm Lone StarThe Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine made usin. Meggitt looks set to be the subject of a bidding war between two US engineering companies, while Ultra has agreed a ￡2[email protected].6bn takeover by Cobham, owned by buyout group Advent International.
For Johnson and his team, including Thatcherite free market ministers such as business secretary Kwasi Kwartengquotation_mark, the proposed takeover of Ultra is shaping up as a key test of their defence and industrial policyThe seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 34. Experts want to know whether Johnson will pursue the hands-off approach to deal making traditionally taken by Conservative governments, which would imply letting more UK defence companies fall into foreign hands.