HomeBusinessAdvent in bid to ease fears over Ultra Electronics deal

Advent in bid to ease fears over Ultra Electronics deal


Advent in bid to ease fears over Ultra deal: Private equity buyer agrees to set up separate board to oversee sensitive government contracts

Ultra Electronics’s private equity buyer has agreed to set up a separate board of directors solely to oversee sensitive government contracts in a bid to ease fears around national security.

US buyout giant Advent International and UK ministers have thrashed out a series of pledges as the firm desperately tries to get the £2.6billion deal to buy the defence company over the line.

Ultra is seen as a highly strategic British firm because of its work, which includes making enemy submarine-hunting sonobuoys.

Ultra is seen as a highly strategic British firm because of its work, which includes making enemy submarine-hunting sonobuoys

The government contracts committee would be separate from Ultra’s main board of directors, forming a distinct reporting line that could keep top secret information hidden from foreign workers.

A source said the plan was part of an ‘unprecedented’ set of protections that has been provisionally secured by ministers but has yet to be formally agreed.

Advent swooped on FTSE 250-listed in a 3,500p per share deal last year.

But Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng intervened and it is seen as a watershed moment that will set the tone for future takeovers of British defence companies by foreign buyers.

Critics including Conservative grandee Lord Heseltine and former Royal Navy head Admiral Lord West are among those who have slammed the Government’s lax approach to overseas buyouts – particularly after Advent also bought Cobham in a £4billion deal which completed in 2020.

Neither Ultra nor Advent were willing to comment.

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