skip to main content

UK government approves Cobham's takeover of Ultra Electronics

Ultra Electronics displayed its Orion X510 radio at the US Navy League's Sea-Air-Space Exposition in April 2022. The radio enables deployed forces to share data. (Janes/Marc Selinger)

UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Kwasi Kwarteng has cleared US-owned Cobham Group to proceed with its proposed acquisition of UK-based Ultra Electronics, capping almost a year of government review, BEIS announced on 6 July.

BEIS said it has accepted a series of legally binding economic commitments from Cobham, including maintaining an Ultra corporate headquarters in the UK, increasing engineering and manufacturing employment in the UK, and continuing with Ultra's proposal to establish a cyber centre of excellence in Maidenhead, England.

“These economic commitments will secure the future of Ultra and the important role it plays in the UK's world-leading defence sector,” BEIS said.

BEIS said it has also accepted, “with a small number of changes”, Cobham's previously reported national security commitments. Those commitments include creating two UK legal entities, or SecureCos, to encompass Ultra UK facilities that perform sensitive work for the UK government. A government representative will serve on each SecureCo board of directors.

Although Cobham and Ultra are both based in the UK, Cobham is owned by a US private equity firm Advent International, which has drawn criticism for divesting several Cobham businesses. The UK government has been scrutinising the proposed transaction since August 2021.

Cobham has offered GBP2.6 billion (USD3.1 billion) for Ultra, saying the combination would create a “global defence electronics champion”. Ultra said that BEIS's approval clears the way for the transaction to close on 1 August.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...