Monday 16 September 2019 1:42 pm

Cobham investors give green light to £4bn private equity takeover

Investors in aerospace giant Cobham have approved a £4bn takeover by private equity firm Advent International, despite fierce opposition from the company’s founding family.

More than 93 per cent of investors approved Advent’s offer of 165p per share, which marked a 50 per cent premium on Cobham’s three-month average share price and was previously recommended by the board.

Read more: Cobham shareholder comes out against £4bn takeover deal by US private equity firm

The vote brings to an end a bitter dispute over the manufacturing giant’s future, with the Cobham family rejecting the offer over national security concerns.

In August Lady Nadine Cobham, whose late husband Sir Michael was the son of the firm’s founder, penned a letter to the government warning a sale could weaken the UK’s defence industry.

This stance was backed by Sanderson Asset Management, Cobham’s eleventh largest shareholder, which revealed it was “inclined to vote against” the deal.

Silchester International Investors, which was Cobham’s largest shareholder when the deal was announced in July, also urged the board to find a better offer.

Despite the concerns, the overwhelming majority of investors passed the motion at today’s meeting, sending shares in Cobham up just under one per cent.

Chairman Jamie Pike told shareholders the board had “pushed as hard as they could push” and engaged in some “arm wrestling” before settling on the £4bn price tag.

Read more: Second shareholder adviser backs Cobham £4bn private equity takeover

The Dorset-based company, best known for its air-to-air refuelling technology, has been plagued by a string of profit warnings and contract disputes in recent years.

Advent, which has capitalised on the weak pound to swoop on the defence firm, has argued the deal will boost Cobham’s access to contracts in the US.

Main image credit: Getty

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