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BAE Systems pays £1.7bn in double takeover of hi-tech US tracking firms

Michael Bow

UK defence giant BAE Systems clinched its biggest takeover in more than a decade on Monday with a $2.2 billion (£1.7 billion) swoop to buy two hi-tech military GPS tracking companies in America.

The FTSE 100 firm will pay $1.9 billion to buy the military GPS tracking system arms of Collins Aerospace, which makes devices to help guide bombs, artillery and rockets to their targets.

It will also pay $275 million for the radio arm of Raytheon, used by military pilots to communicate securely in the air.

The two units were put up for sale following the $120 billion merger between Collins-owner United Technologies and Raytheon last year. The duo had to sell divisions to get the deal past regulators.

BAE chief executive Charles Woodburn said the situation was a “golden opportunity” to buy two good businesses.

He said “improved UK political clarity” was one reason for making the move now.

The two units, which employ around 775 people, will be merged into BAE’s Electronic Systems division.

The deal is BAE’s largest since the 2007 takeover of Armor Holdings for $4.2 billion.