Back £28bn merger, bosses urge
Ian King, chief executive of BAE Systems and Tom Enders, his EADS counterpart, appealed for political support for the plan, saying it would create a global company that would be more than the sum of its parts.
Although the merger is a commercial deal, the approval of the British, French and German governments will be needed if it is to go ahead.
The United States is understood to be taking a close interest in the deal because of BAE's involvement in sensitive US defence projects.
Saying the merger was "borne out of opportunity, not necessity", they wrote: "BAE Systems and EADS are both strong businesses with clearly defined strategies that have enabled them to make progress in the last five years, and which would take them forward as independent companies.
"But there comes a time when it is right to seize the moment and to create something that is even stronger and better. We believe that time is now. With the necessary political will and support, management determination, and proper governance, BAE Systems and EADS can produce a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts."
They added that the firms proposed to replace the shareholder arrangements which currently give Daimler, French multi-national Lagardère and the French state joint control over EADS.
They are also making arrangements that would, if a merger is agreed, "protect the strategic and national security interests of the governments with which we work, particularly in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, given the importance of those markets to the combined group", they added.
The British Government holds a "golden share" in defence contractors BAE, which means it can veto any merger or takeover of the company. Prime Minister David Cameron has spoken to French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the deal.
© 2012 Press Association