Cobham shareholders back £4bn acquisition by Advent

Investors in Cobham have cleared the £4 billion takeover of the UK aerospace business by a US private equity firm.

Shareholders overwhelmingly voted in favour of accepting the takeover offer from Advent International following bitter opposition.

Advent’s 165p per share offer to take the business private was accepted by 93% of investors at a meeting held at City law firm Allen & Overy, surpassing the 75% threshold needed to pass the move.

However, Lady Nadine Cobham, whose late husband Michael ran the family business, has not given up on her hopes to thwart the deal.

Lady Cobham has renewed her appeals to Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace for the Government to step in.

After the vote, Lady Cobham said: “It is a tragedy that institutional shareholders have chosen to join Cobham’s directors in running up the white flag over the company.

“There is still time for Government to show the backbone that management lacks and step in to protect a great British business before it’s sold to a dubious fate under private equity.

“Advent’s ownership will ultimately lead to the sale and break up of a key part of our defence establishment.”

Despite approval, the Government could still intervene on national security grounds at any point until the move is closed under the Enterprise Act 2002, or ask for specific assurances regarding the deal.

It was heavily predicted that the deal would pass the shareholder vote after no rival contenders emerged with better offers for the business, which employs around 10,000 people, including 1,700 in the UK.

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

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