On 25th July 2019, the boards of Cobham PLC and a subsidiary of funds managed by Advent International, a US private equity firm, announced that they had reached agreement on the terms of a recommend cash acquisition of Cobham for approximately £4 billion.
On 17th September, following advice from relevant Government Departments and agencies, I initiated a public interest intervention under the Enterprise Act 2002 into this merger on the grounds of national security. I required that the Competition and Markets Authority investigate the merger and provide me with a report on the transaction by 29th October, which it has done. The Secretary of State for Defence has also written to me about the national security implications of the merger and the discussions which have taken place with the parties to propose undertakings to address those implications. I am grateful for the advice I have received and the constructive engagement from the parties.
The decision on how to proceed in this case requires further full and proper consideration of the issues. Having received these reports, I will therefore have further discussions with my ministerial colleagues and the parties to the transaction to inform the decision-making process. I will update the House in due course so that Honourable Members can scrutinise the Government’s decision. The full legal process will continue to be followed throughout the general election period.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords