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Thales Group to buy Cobham Aerospace Communications

Cobham Aerospace Communications is a supplier for the new Airbus H160M multirole military helicopter. (Airbus Helicopters)

France's Thales Group has agreed to acquire Cobham Group's Aerospace Communications (AeroComms) business for USD1.1 billion, expanding its military and civil aviation portfolio, the buyer announced on 12 July.

Based in the Paris region, AeroComms serves military trainer, transport, and fighter aircraft, as well as commercial and regional aircraft, business jets, general aviation aircraft, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles. Its products include antennas, audio and radio management systems, clocks, internal and external lighting, and satellite communication transceivers.

AeroComms, which employs about 690 people, estimates it will generate USD200 million in revenue in 2023, with defence accounting for about 30% of that figure. It has made several defence-related announcements in 2023, including that it was selected to provide the audio/radio management system and search and landing lights for the H160M joint light helicopter that Airbus is developing for the French Armed Forces.

Thales said it expects to close the AeroComms deal in the first half of 2024 after receiving regulatory approval.

The AeroComms transaction is the latest in a series of divestitures that the UK-based Cobham Group has pursued since US private equity firm Advent International acquired it for GBP4 billion (USD5.18 billion) in 2020. Businesses that the group has already unloaded include air-to-air refuelling systems provider Cobham Mission Systems (CMS), which Ireland-based power management company Eaton acquired for USD2.8 billion, and the Space Systems Division of Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions (CAES), which US private equity firm Veritas Capital purchased for an undisclosed sum and renamed as Frontgrade Technologies.

Cobham Group has made acquisitions of its own under Advent's ownership, most notably buying Ultra Electronics for GBP2.6 billion.

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