US defence supplier Cobham acquires UK rival Ultra Electronics for £2.57bn

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Paul Hastings LLP, a global law firm, announced today that it has advised multiple banks and funds in relation to debt facilities provided for US-based aerospace and defence supplier Cobham’s public-to-private bid to acquire UK competitor, Ultra Electronics, for £2.57bn.

Earlier this month, Ultra Electronics accepted the offer.

The acquisition aims to benefit customers by combining the complementary design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities of the two groups, which will enable the delivery of more integrated and higher performance solutions in space, avionics and electronics, in both commercial and defence markets, to mutual customers and wider stakeholders.

Paul Hastings advised Barclays Bank, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Jefferies, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Canada, Goldman Sachs and UniCredit in relation to the senior debt facilities and advised Carlyle, KKR Credit, Canyon, Goldman Sachs and Albacore in relation to the junior debt facilities, together comprising a financing package of £1.8bn.

The Paul Hastings cross-border team was led by London finance partners, Luke McDougall, Richard Kitchen, Peter Schwartz, Edward Holmes and Peter Hayes together with London associates Andrew Lowndes, Ludovico Giannotti, Alon Blitz, Lauren Winter, Lorenzo Colombi-Manzi and Michelle Li.

The team also included New York finance partners, John Cobb and Seth Chandler, together with New York associates Mitchell Zuckerman and Maciej Zielnik; London corporate crime & investigations partner, Jonathan Pickworth together with associate Gesa Bukowski; London fintech & regulation partner, Arun Srivastava; Washington D.C. litigation Of Counsel, Jennifer Riddle; London tax partners, Arun Birla and Jiten Tank together with associate Abigail Hung; and New York tax partner, David Makso.

In 2019, the Paul Hastings team also advised Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Citibank as arrangers and underwriters in relation to a £2.5 billion 1st/2nd lien financing for Advent International’s acquisition of Cobham.

Shonnel Malani, Chairman of the Cobham Group, said: “We believe Cobham and Ultra’s complementary capabilities delivering mission critical technology will be significantly enhanced through the combination of the two groups, enabling the development of higher performance solutions for our customers.

“We recognise the important role that a combined Cobham and Ultra will play in ‘fiveeyes’ defence and are committed to protecting the continuity of supply to the UK and our allies. We look forward to working with HM Government, and other relevant stakeholders, to agree legally binding commitments which safeguard Ultra’s contribution to the UK economy and national security.”

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