Directional Antennas
Britain's Cobham to acquire US-based Aeroflex for about $1.46bn. Reuters

British aerospace and defence firm Cobham has agreed to pay about $1.46bn to acquire US communications equipment maker Aeroflex Holding.

Cobham said it will pay $10.50 per share in cash for Aeroflex or a 26% premium to Aeroflex's 19 May closing price on the New York Stock Exchange.

Cobham will also take on Aeroflex's $540m (£321m, €394m) net debt.

Cobham said it expects the deal to yield about $85m "in annual synergies from cost savings and operational efficiency improvements, from a total investment of approximately $215m".

On a pro forma basis, Aeroflex will comprise about 17% of the enlarged group's consolidated revenue, a Cobham statement added.

Cobham intends to place 65 million shares, through a bookbuild, representing some 6% of its share capital, to help fund the acquisition. Merrill Lynch International and UBS have been appointed as joint bookrunners for the placing, according to a seperate Cobham statement.

Cobham's stock was trading 0.32% higher at 09:49 hrs in London.

Cobham chairman, John Devaney said in the statement: "This transaction is a compelling strategic fit for us on a number of fronts, bringing together two high technology businesses with complementary capabilities, customers and characteristics.

"Aeroflex has maintained consistently high levels of company funded Research & Development resulting in a pipeline of products that we expect to further underpin our growth profile, with the business expected to deliver highly attractive financial returns."

Cobham acquired distributed antenna systems (DAS) maker Axell Wireless for £85m a little over a year ago.