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Cutting-edge defence firms in firing line of private equity

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Raids on British defence companies spark fears crucial industry will be hollowed out


Raids on British defence companies have sparked fears a crucial industry will be hollowed out. 

The UK has the second-biggest aerospace and defence sector in the world. But swoops on firms including Ultra Electronics and Meggitt have increased fears that this is in jeopardy with jobs, intellectual property and cutting-edge technology at risk of going overseas. 

Concern: Swoops on firms including Meggitt have increased fears that the aerospace and defence sector is in jeopardy

Concern: Swoops on firms including Meggitt have increased fears that the aerospace and defence sector is in jeopardy

US private equity giant Advent International offered £2.6billion for Ultra in July, upsetting politicians and experts. They pointed out the supplier to the armed forces also makes submarine-hunting kit – and that Advent bought Cobham for £4billion in 2020, selling more than half of it in 18 months. 

A £6.3billion move on Meggitt by US rival Parker-Hannifin also hit opposition. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng decides on both cases next year. 

The new National Security and Investment Act means the Government must study deals in 17 industries, which could halt Viasat’s £5.4billion move on satellite firm Inmarsat and Nvidia’s £30billion swoop on Arm Holdings.

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