Defence Secretary to probe American firm’s £4billion takeover of firm that supplies RAF – The Sun

FEARS surrounding the takeover of RAF supplier Cobham by a US company will be looked into by the Defence Secretary.

The British firm’s founding family had called for the Government to intervene in the £4billion deal.

They argued it was not in “the UK’s national interests”.

Lady Nadine Cobham wrote to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace amid growing opposition to the buyout by US private equity firm Advent International.

He has now told the family in a letter: “Let me assure you that I will look at your concerns and will at all times bear in mind the security and skills needed to best protect this country.”


Lady Cobham said: “We are encouraged that the Defence Secretary understands our concerns about the proposed takeover of Cobham, which threatens UK national security, valuable high-tech jobs and this country's manufacturing capability.”

But Lib Dem spokesman Chuka Umunna claimed the Government was “happy to see a jewel in the crown of our defence and aerospace industries threatened”.

Cobham, best known for air-to-air refuelling systems, was founded in 1934 by Sir Alan Cobham — an aviation pioneer thought to have been the inspiration for fictional pilot Biggles.

The firm joined the stock exchange in 1985 and the board recommended shareholders accept the US offer last month.

Also a major contractor for the US Department of Defence, it is now based in Wimborne Minster, Dorset, and has divisions all over the world.

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