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Family of Cobham founder appeals to UK government to halt PE takeover

The £4.0 billion takeover of British defense and aerospace company Cobham PLC faces opposition from the founder's family, the Financial Times reported.

The daughter-in-law of founder Alan Cobham has written to U.K. government officials asking them to intervene, saying the deal is not in the country's national interest. Cobham employs about 1,700 people in the U.K. and about 10,000 globally, and only about 5% of its business comes from Britain's defense ministry, the FT said.

Cobham CEO David Lockwood expressed sympathy for Nadine Cobham, but told the newspaper he saw no threat to the national interest or to jobs in the country.

Cobham's board has recommended shareholders accept the 165 pence per share cash offer from U.S. buyout firm Advent International Corp. The proposal must secure shareholder approval of at least 75% in value of the Cobham shares in order to be effective.

The deal will be financed through a combination of equity and debt financing. The equity will be provided by funds managed by Advent, as well as funds managed by GSO Capital Partners LP, Blackstone Tactical Opportunities Advisors L.L.C. and other managers affiliated with Blackstone Group Inc. and the remainder will be provided via an interim facilities agreement.