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A&O, Hogan Lovells and Skadden line up on $1.46bn acquisition of Aeroflex by UK rival Cobham

Allen & Overy (A&O), Hogan Lovells and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom are among firms to be awarded mandates on British aerospace and defence supplier Cobham’s all-cash acquisition of US communications equipment maker Aeroflex for $1.46bn.

For US advice Cobham turned to Skadden’s corporate partner Eric Cochran but on English law, the company returned to A&O led by M&A partner Richard Browne.

In 2011 A&O advised Cobham on its €78m acquisition of Telerob Holding from financial investor EquiTrust.

Hogan Lovells provided English law advice to Aeroflex, led by London corporate partner Tom Brassington. In the US, Shulte Roth and Zabel advised Aeroflex, led by John Pollock.

The acquisition by Cobham of its New York rival is the largest in its 80-year history and illustrates the British defence company’s need to diversify away from its dependency on US defense spending, which account for around a third of its sales. As budgets are tightened by governments on both sides of the Atlantic, Cobham has said that its acquisition of the far more commercial Aeroflex, which derives around 70% of its revenues from commercial customers, will help it to diversify. Last year the FTSE 250 company, which saw its pre-tax profit fall by 4% to £288m, bought Axell Wireless for £85m.

‘We believe Aeroflex and Cobham are a natural fit and that Aeroflex will benefit from the larger scale, market presence, and resources of the combined organisation,’ said Len Borow, Aeroflex’ chief executive.