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UK Government OKs Cobham-Ultra Electronics Deal

The U.K. government on Wednesday approved Cobham’s proposed acquisition of defense contractor Ultra Electronics following consideration of responses to a public consultation that sought to address national security issues associated with the planned transaction. 

A consultation on the proposed undertakings that Cobham offered to mitigate national security concerns was launched on June 23 and the British government said Wednesday the consultation ran through July 3.

These undertakings include access to intellectual property, International Traffic in Arms Regulations protections, board representation, step-in rights, articles of association and the creation of two SecureCos or U.K. legal entities encompassing Ultra facilities delivering sensitive capabilities to the U.K. government.

Cobham agreed to acquire Ultra Electronics for approximately $3.6 billion in August 2021.

The British government also accepted economic commitments offered by both corporate entities, including keeping a U.K.-based corporate headquarters, increasing engineering research and development spending by at least 20 percent by the end of three years and establishing a center of excellence for cyber capabilities.

Cobham, which manufactures aerial refueling technology, became a private company after it was acquired by U.S.-based private equity firm Advent International in 2020.

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