BBC News; Saturday 21 December 2019
Cobham takeover: Boris Johnson defends 4bn sale to US equity firm

Boris Johnson has defended the controversial 4bn takeover of UK defence and aerospace company Cobham by a US private equity firm.
The government approved the sale of Cobham to Advent International on Friday, after the deal was delayed because of national security concerns.

Former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West said Cobham holds defence technologies which are "critically important".

But the PM said "a lot of checks" had been gone through to satisfy concerns.
Speaking on a trip to see British troops in Estonia, Mr Johnson said: "I think it's very important that we should have an open and dynamic market economy.
"A lot of checks have been gone through to make sure that in that particular case all the security issues that might be raised can be satisfied and the UK will continue to be a very, very creative and dynamic contributor to that section of industry and all others."

Advent International made its initial offer in July and it was approved by shareholders in August.
The government ordered a review from the competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), a week after Admiral Lord West expressed concerns, in an interview with the Daily Mail,

The CMA's report, published at the end of October, said the MoD had outlined two main areas of security concern over the sale:
The risk of "unauthorised persons" obtaining information about the MoD's capabilities and activity
The threat to existing MoD programmes (due to funding cuts or moving capabilities "off-shore")

In a statement on Friday, Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said she was satisfied the risks that had been identified had been mitigated "to an acceptable level" - and allowed the deal to go ahead.

But Admiral Lord West said that while he was "delighted" that was the case, "it does mean that there are national security risks that are being mitigated".
He stressed the importance of maintaining defence capabilities in what he called a "chaotic and rapidly changing world where old alliances are no longer certain", adding "no other advanced industrial nation and certainly no permanent member of the UN Security Council is so cavalier about giving up such capabilities"
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NS Comment: The shame of this transaction is that the UK firm is being sold off to a US private equity firm which is free to sell the business on to other interested parties. The points raised by Admiral Lord West were weighty enough to cause a halt. Well, Cobham was a private company whose shareholders were more interested in making a fast buck.