17 February 2010
The hostile takeover bid for VT Group by Babcock
International to create a £2.3 billion defence support services group may be
scuppered by the news that US defence company Lockheed Martin could come to its
Yesterday, FM World reported that VT Group, itself embroiled
in a takeover bid for services firm Mouchel, has itself rejected outright
an offer from engineering and defence services business Babcock.
Senior management at VT Group said accepting the £1.14bn
cash and shares takeover bid by Babcock would be a retrograde move
strategically for VT.
Today, The Times has reported that Lockheed Martin could be
lined up as a “potential preferred “white knight” bidder for VT in its attempt
to see off the unwanted advances of Babcock.”
According to the article, no approach has been made by the
American company, but it is said to have considered a move for VT in the past.
Former shipbuilding company VT Group has been distancing
itself from reliance on defence contracts, a major market for Babcock whose
largest contracts include maintaining submarines and surface naval vessels
around the country and also the training of engineers in such work.
Last year VT sold its traditional shipbuilding interests to BAE Systems.
Instead, VT has been trying to take over its rival Mouchel, with its most
recent bid of £320 million being considered by the smaller firm.