Sponsored by TCI International Inc.
01 Jul 21. Micross Components Acquires Semi Dice. Micross Components (“Micross” or the “Company”), a leading provider of high-reliability microelectronic product and service solutions for aerospace, defense, space, medical and industrial applications and a portfolio company of Behrman Capital, announced the acquisition of Semi Dice, LLC (“Semi Dice”), a global provider of high-reliability die & wafer products and value-added services. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Through its operating locations in Los Alamitos, CA and Norwich, UK, Semi Dice has focused on meeting the demanding needs of bare die users in the microelectronics industry through its services, which include distribution, die plating, pick and place, visual inspection, and wafer dicing, among others. Semi Dice has long-tenured and deeply entrenched relationships with top semiconductor manufacturers and broad experience servicing the stringent requirements of high-reliability customers in the aerospace, defense, energy, and medical industries.
Grant Behrman, Managing Partner of Behrman Capital, said: “We are pleased with this highly complementary add-on acquisition for Micross, which creates a market-leading provider of high-reliability die and wafer services. Semi Dice enhances Micross’ breadth and quality of capabilities, adding end-of-life management services and bolstering the Company’s presence in the medical end market. We look forward to supporting the combined company in capitalizing on its abundant growth opportunities ahead.”
Vincent Buffa, Chairman & CEO of Micross, said: “The acquisition of Semi Dice further expands Micross’ market-leading portfolio of high-reliability microelectronic solutions. Leveraging the capabilities of our existing portfolio of services, Semi Dice will be able to provide supply partners greater value in serving their complete program life cycle and operational needs, from bare die distribution to fully integrated packaged solutions. With the addition of Semi Dice, Micross will offer the most comprehensive portfolio of high-reliability die and wafer solutions and services across all key end markets.”
Laura Margeson, Vice President & General Manager of Semi Dice, said: “We are excited to join the Micross family. Both companies share a long history in serving the expanding semiconductor needs of our ever-advancing world. Together, Micross and Semi Dice offer unmatched engineering and operational resources to provide our customers with greater value, through full turnkey capabilities with end-to-end microelectronic solutions.”
About Micross Components
Micross is a provider of mission-critical microelectronic component solutions for high-reliability markets. The company provides a wide range of high-reliability product and service solutions to customers, including Die & Wafer services, Component Modification Services, Advanced Interconnect Technology, Custom Packaging & Assembly, Electrical & Environmental Testing and others. In business for more than 40 years, Micross offers extensive capabilities that have reliably served customers in the Aerospace & Defense, Space, Medical and Industrial markets. Micross provides the sourcing, packaging, assembly, engineering, testing and logistics expertise needed to support applications throughout their entire program life cycles.
About Semi Dice
Semi Dice is a leading global wafer and bare die component supplier to the microelectronic industry, serving defense, aerospace, medical and high-reliability industrial end markets. Whether customer requirements are for generic devices or product-tested and supplied to source control drawings, Semi Dice can provide quick solutions. Each Semi Dice facility is staffed with fully-trained sales and technical personnel capable of supplying up-to-date information on product availability, component selection and product screening requirements. The corporate facility is equipped with ESD protected clean rooms, nitrogen stored inventory and complete technical libraries. Combined with strict AS9100 quality systems, Semi Dice’s extensive inventory ensures quick delivery without compromise to quality. www.semidice.com
About Behrman Capital
Based in New York City, Behrman Capital was founded in 1991 by Grant G. and Darryl G. Behrman. The firm invests in management buyouts, leveraged buildups and recapitalizations of established growth businesses. The company’s investments are focused in three industries: defense and aerospace, healthcare services, and specialty manufacturing and distribution. The firm has raised $3.5bn since inception and is currently investing out of its sixth fund. For more information, please visit www.behrmancap.com. (Source: PR Newswire)
29 Jun 21. QuEST Global acquires Synapse Design to Enhance Expertise in Semiconductor and Connected Engineering. This acquisition will enable the company’s vision to grow its semiconductor business and add 2,000 engineers within the next four years. QuEST Global, a global product engineering and lifecycle services company, has acquired Synapse Design, a Silicon Valley headquartered design and engineering services provider to top-tier semiconductor and systems companies worldwide. This addition will enhance QuEST’s capability in providing comprehensive design and consulting services and software development for the semiconductor industry. With this acquisition, the company will be able to offer end-to-end hardware-enabled software solutions to its customers across various industries, including semiconductor, automotive, consumer electronics, networking, and storage systems. Such solutions are especially critical now, as these industries accelerate their efforts to capitalize on the rise of digital technologies and the transformational opportunities arising.
This acquisition will enable QuEST’s vision to grow its semiconductor business, add at least 2,000 engineers in the next four years while enhancing their ability to leverage the convergence of electronics, software, and digital engineering services. This will also support QuEST to provide innovative, digital solutions to its customers, help improve their operational efficiency and solve the complex challenges in terms of cost and quality of products.
With its strong customer portfolio and domain capabilities in the semiconductor industry, Synapse Design is QuEST’s 14th acquisition in the last two decades. Each acquisition has added differentiated skills and enabled the company to create one of the broadest portfolio offerings of any engineering services company, enabling them to create the frontier by advancing the ways people live, work and engage with each other.
Founded in 2003 by Satish Bagalkotkar and Devesh Gautam, Synapse Design has built a strong reputation by providing end-to-end semiconductor design services to 95% of the world’s top fabless, Original Design Manufacturing (ODM) and Integrated Device Manufacturing (IDM) companies. Their services and solutions include low-power, mixed-signal Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) and System-On-Chip (SOC) design services from architecture specifications to tape out, including system-level software and embedded firmware development. The company creates end-to-end hardware/software design solutions targeting Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/Data Center/IoT, automotive/autonomous, multimedia, mobile, networking, and communications/storage applications.
Synapse Design has its design centers in India, China, Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam and employs more than 700 engineers. As a QuEST subsidiary, it will continue to operate under the leadership of Satish Bagalkotkar and Devesh Gautam.
Welcoming Synapse to the QuEST Global family, Ajit Prabhu, Chairman & CEO, QuEST Global said: “We are constantly looking for outstanding talent and capability that can help us provide innovative engineering services and solutions across our customer base. The acquisition of Synapse Design will enable us to provide comprehensive design services, consulting, and software development services to our semiconductor customers. We strongly believe that the investments we are making in enhancing our engineering capabilities will help customers solve complex engineering challenges in their respective industries. As their trusted thinking partner, we are committed to providing end-to-end engineering solutions that will help redefine their engineering strategy from a long-term perspective.”
Sharing his excitement, Satish Bagalkotkar, President, CEO and Co-Founder, Synapse Design said: “We are excited to be part of the QuEST family as the combination of both companies brings great opportunities for our stakeholders, including customers, partners, and employees. This acquisition will combine our capabilities in providing design and consulting services with QuEST’s capabilities in providing embedded & software services and expertise in the convergence of electronics, software, and digital engineering innovations. This combination will help us to deliver world-class engineering services and solutions to customers across various industries.”
Devesh Gautam, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder, Synapse Design said: “The acquisition of Synapse Design by QuEST Global is an excellent next step for the customers and employees of both companies. Synapse and QuEST share an unrelenting passion to provide customers with excellent engineering talent and a best-in-class customer service experience. As a global organization, we will be able to serve new and larger customers across the globe, add value to existing customers and create more high-skilled engineering jobs in the region.”
About QuEST Global
For more than 20 years, QuEST Global has been a trusted global product engineering and lifecycle services partner to many of the world’s most recognized companies in the Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Energy, Hi-Tech, Medical Devices, Rail and Semiconductor industries. With a presence in 13 countries, 56 global delivery centers and 11,250+ personnel, QuEST Global is at the forefront of the convergence of the mechanical, electronics, software and digital engineering innovations to engineer solutions for a safer, cleaner and sustainable world. QuEST Global’s deep domain knowledge and digital expertise help its clients accelerate product development and innovation cycles, create alternate revenue streams, enhance consumer experience and make manufacturing processes and operations more efficient. (Source: PR Newswire)
29 Jun 21. Aerospace Technology Company, Sagetech Avionics Receives $12m Investment. Sagetech Avionics Inc., an innovative technology company providing industry-leading avionics solutions for Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS), announced today that the company received a $12m investment from Due West Partners, a Seattle-based private investment firm. The investment will enable acceleration of Sagetech’s product roadmap, specifically UAS Detect and Avoid (DAA) capability and other related technologies. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“We are excited to partner with Due West Partners” stated Tom Furey, CEO of Sagetech Avionics. “Their experience in scaling aerospace companies and deep network of experts in the Defense and Aerospace ecosystem will provide substantial benefits to Sagetech as we continue our growth in the exciting UAS and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) markets. Sagetech is honored that Due West recognizes the strength in our market position and the future value of our technology roadmap, and we are looking forward to a lasting and mutually beneficial relationship.”
Sagetech Avionics provides the most advanced technology core for type certifiable detect and avoid systems for UAS. With this investment, Sagetech will expand their Engineering and Go-To-Market teams in order to support the growing demand for DAA and other situational awareness solutions worldwide.
“Sagetech combines a unique blend of advanced situational awareness solutions, which are crucial to unlocking the future potential of the UAS and AAM markets, with an unmatched history of providing reliable miniature avionics for use in the US Department of Defense,” said Nick Wellmon, Managing Partner of DWP. “Proven technologies and customer credibility plus significant market potential create a very exciting opportunity.” “Situational awareness products are required technology for safe integration of crewed and uncrewed vehicles into managed airspace, and Due West Partners is pleased to support a company helping customers overcome these challenges,” said Robert Dickinson, Managing Partner of DWP.
About Sagetech Avionics
Sagetech Avionics, Inc. is an aerospace technology company empowering safe flight in unmanned aircraft with situational awareness solutions built from mission-critical transponders, software, and related technologies. Currently serving military and civil duty on most small to medium UAVs, Sagetech solutions are mission-proven and offer decades of program experience, certifications, and millions of flight hours to deliver maximum value over the life of an unmanned platform. Today, Sagetech is expanding its technology platform to create comprehensive, certifiable systems such as detect and avoid solutions. Every day, Sagetech works in concert with its extensive ecosystem of OEM customers, technology partners, and resellers to ensure UAVs fly safer with Sagetech on board. Learn more at www.sagetech.com.
About Due West Partners
Due West is Different. With patient capital aimed at creating sustainable growth and building legacies, Due West Partners offers companies an alternative source of capital to grow their business. Our goal is simple: empower established businesses with the additional resources and expertise they need to focus on long-term value creation. (Source: PR Newswire)
29 June 21. Thales to acquire Moog navigation aids business.
- Moog navigation aid offerings complement Thales’ family of navigation aids.
- Upon acquisition closing, in addition to fixed navigation aids, Thales will gain “man-portable” technology, further supporting contingency air operations as well as evolving military mobility needs.
- The post-acquisition integration will augment Thales U.S.-based engineering, industrial and technology capabilities.
Thales has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Moog ground-based navigation aids business located in Salt Lake City, Utah.
As one of the worldwide leaders in navigation aids, Thales is trusted by global air navigation service providers and military ATM operators to deliver high quality, cost-effective solutions. Moog has a history of providing quality, reliability and longevity with its navigation aids. Acquiring the Moog navigation aids business will enable Thales to provide a more comprehensive navigation aid offering in addition to maintaining service to Moog customers.
The transaction is subject to regulatory review and customary closing conditions. Financial terms are not being disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close later this year.
28 Jun 21. CAE receives regulatory approvals for acquisition of L3Harris Technologies’ Military Training business.
- Acquisition expected to close on July 2, 2021
- Will position CAE as the leading global, pure play, platform-agnostic training and simulation company in defence and security market
- Will approximately double CAE’s core military training business in the United States
- Will broaden CAE’s position in training and operational support across multi-domain operations
(NYSE: CAE) (TSX: CAE) – CAE today announced that it has received all the required regulatory approvals for the previously announced acquisition of L3Harris Technologies’ Military Training business for US$1.05bn subject to customary adjustments (the “Acquisition”) and expects closing to be complete on July 2, 2021.
The acquisition of L3Harris’ Military Training business will expand CAE’s position as a platform-agnostic training and simulation company serving the global defence and security market. The L3Harris Military Training business, which includes Link Simulation & Training, Doss Aviation and AMI, will be integrated with CAE USA. This will approximately double CAE’s core military training business in the United States. The Acquisition will also serve to broaden CAE’s ability to provide training and operational support solutions across multi-domain operations by diversifying CAE’s training and simulation leadership in the air domain, complementing land and naval training solutions, and enhancing CAE’s capabilities in space and cyber.
“Following the closing, we are pleased to welcome L3Harris Military Training customers and employees to CAE,” said Marc Parent, CAE’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “This represents the largest acquisition in our history and clearly demonstrates our strategy to strengthen and expand our position in all the markets CAE serves. We will be emerging from the pandemic much stronger and more ready to meet the growing demands of our customers.”
With this Acquisition, CAE will add significant experience in the development and delivery of training systems for fighter and bomber aircraft, US Army rotary-wing platforms, submarines and remotely piloted aircraft. CAE USA will become the prime contractor or key subcontractor on a range of programs, including the United States Air Force (USAF) Simulators Common Architecture Requirements and Standards (SCARS) program, USAF F-16 Simulators Training Program (STP), US Navy/Marine Corps F/A-18 aircrew training systems, USAF initial flight training, USAF Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) training and USAF B-2 training system.
“This Acquisition will bring scale, experience and capabilities that support our strategy to align closely with the National Defense Strategy in the United States,” said Daniel Gelston, Group President, Defence & Security, CAE. “As the United States and its allies train for a near-peer threat, we expect increasing demand for simulation-based training and the use of synthetic environments across all battlespace domains. This Acquisition will significantly strengthen our ability to provide the digitally immersive solutions for training and operational support that are needed for multi-domain operations.”
The Acquisition, which was first announced on March 1, 2021, is expected to provide low teens percentage EPS accretion for CAE within its first full year post-close and to be immediately accretive to operating income. (Source: PR Newswire)
28 Jun 21. Global survival and safety solutions leader Survitec announced today that it has completed a £15m Bank Guarantee Facility with Barclays Corporate Banking. This bank guarantee complements the company’s recently announced £270m refinancing as well as a new £27.5m Super Senior Revolving Capital Facility. All three of the agreements are part of Survitec’s growth plans for its survival technology products and services.
Ray Leclercq, Survitec’s Chief Financial Officer, said: “The bank guarantee from Barclays is another key component of our strategic plan. This deal aligns with our customer growth plans and our unique ability to serve our customers globally with a one-stop shop for their survival and safety needs. Partnering with a global and well recognised financial services leader such as Barclays helps us strengthen our global customer offerings.”
Commenting on the Survitec transaction, Graeme MacLaughlin, Relationship Director at Barclays Corporate Banking, said: “Barclays is pleased to be working with Global Survival Technology leader, Survitec and to support them in their continued growth in technology products and services for customers around the world.”
Survitec recently announced the acquisition of Hansen Protection, a leading European provider of protective wear for the energy, defence and agriculture sectors. Hansen Protection joined forces with Survitec in May 2021, adding its highly regarded product portfolio and loyal customer base to Survitec’s leadership position.
28 Jun 21. CMU Software Engineering Institute Announces Establishment of New AI Division, Names Director. Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute today announced the establishment of a new research division dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI) engineering and named Matthew Gaston as the new division’s director.
A federally funded research and development center, the SEI helps government and industry organizations develop and operate software systems that are secure and reliable. The SEI is leading a national initiative to advance the professional discipline of AI engineering with partners in industry, government, and universities.
AI engineering is an emerging field of research and practice that combines the principles of systems engineering, software engineering, computer science, and human-centered design to create AI systems in accordance with human needs for mission outcomes. This discipline will help the Department of Defense and other government agencies meet mission goals by developing and deploying AI systems that are scalable, robust and secure, and human centered.
The new SEI AI Division will focus on research in applied artificial intelligence and the engineering questions related to the practical design and implementation of AI technologies and systems. The division will draw on work done by the SEI Emerging Technology Center (ETC), which has initiated and nurtured AI engineering at the SEI.
Gaston, who joined the SEI in 2011, is currently director of the ETC, which is focused on applying new software technologies to gain leap-ahead mission capabilities for the DoD and other government agencies. Under his leadership, the ETC research portfolio has grown to include work in advanced computing, applied artificial intelligence and machine learning, and human-machine interaction. Gaston also holds an appointment as adjunct associate professor in the CMU Institute for Software Research.
“Carnegie Mellon University recognized early on the promise of AI to enable better, faster decisions at scale,” said CMU Vice President for Research J. Michael McQuade. “Researchers at CMU created the first AI computer program in 1956 and since then have conducted pioneering work in self-driving vehicles, facial recognition, and natural language processing. CMU was also the first U.S. university to offer an undergraduate degree in AI. It is critical for the U.S. government to bring engineering discipline to AI as a key enabler for national security, and it is particularly fitting for the Software Engineering Institute to contribute to this discipline because of the university’s long history of leadership in this area.”
Before joining the SEI, Gaston was research director at Viz, a business area of General Dynamics C4 Systems, where he led research activities for the Battle Management System Division. Prior to Viz, he served as the technical director of the Advanced Analysis Laboratory at the U.S. National Security Agency.
“The Department of Defense sponsored the SEI in 1984 to bring engineering discipline to the creation and acquisition of software. Our goal in forming and growing the SEI AI Division is similar—to transform the creation of AI systems from one-time, custom-crafted solutions into repeatable, scalable, and reliable programs and services that can help the DoD achieve mission success,” said Paul Nielsen, SEI director and CEO. “Matt’s real-world knowledge and experience from industry, the DoD, and the intelligence community will help the DoD and other government agencies assure that AI capabilities meet mission needs now and in the future.”
Gaston has published in the fields of complex networks, machine learning, multi-agent systems, and operations research. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
“I am very excited to lead the new SEI AI Division and to scale the SEI’s AI engineering capabilities in support of defense and national security,” said Gaston. “Using our initial work in the Emerging Technology Center and across the SEI as a foundation, we plan to build on the strong legacy of software engineering research at the SEI, initiate exciting new projects, work closely with world-class AI researchers across CMU, and build a community of collaborators throughout government, industry, and academia.”
For more information about AI engineering at the SEI, see https://sei.cmu.edu/our-work/artificial-intelligence-engineering/index.cfm.
About the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute
The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense and operated by Carnegie Mellon University. The SEI works with organizations to make measurable improvements in their software engineering capabilities by providing technical leadership to advance the practice of software engineering. The CERT Division of the SEI is the world’s leading trusted authority dedicated to improving the security and resilience of computer systems and networks and a national asset in the field of cybersecurity. For more information, visit the SEI website at http://www.sei.cmu.edu. (Source: PR Newswire)
28 Jun 21. Start Up Velontra Accelerates Hypersonic Technology to Regain America’s Military and Aviation Dominance. Two rocket scientists, a Harvard-educated lawyer and an award-winning entrepreneur are on a mission to ensure that America’s military is not left behind by Chinese and Russian technology advances. With the founding of Velontra, the foursome is now hyper-focused on developing innovative solutions to unmanned supersonic and hypersonic challenges—faster, cheaper and better than traditional methods.
Veteran-owned start up Velontra will be the next Space X of hypersonic unmanned flight. Left to right are U.S. Marine Corp veteran and Velontra CEO Zachary Green, U.S. Marine Force Recon veteran and COO Rob Keane, and Velontra’s Chief Technology Officer Joel Darin, one of the nation’s authorities on jet engine afterburners.
“We are a veteran-owned business dedicated to serving our country though we are no longer in uniform,” says Velontra CEO and Marine Corps veteran Zachary Green. “We joined together because our team has brilliant rocket scientists who are discouraged by the slow pace and high cost of large U.S. companies.’
Green recognizes how lean start ups with extraordinary know-how can accomplish more than companies mired with bureaucracy. He previously turned a simple idea into an over $30m revenue company: MN8 LumAware/Foxfire. Harvard-educated mergers/acquisitions and start-up attorney Mark Longenecker joins the Velontra team as a founding member and Chief Legal Officer. “I believe in this idea, and in this team,” says Longenecker. ” For the past three decades, I have advised hundreds of highly successful ventures. Velontra is different. These brilliant founders hold the key to creating one of the most dynamic, revolutionary companies I’ve ever seen and for far less costs than existing companies.”
Velontra’s COO, Rob Keane, is a Force Recon Marine veteran, awarded for valor in combat. Keane brings to Velontra a special operations mindset of “adapt and overcome and do whatever it takes to complete the mission.” A graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Master’s of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering, Keane’s Marine Corps background and aerospace expertise are invaluable to the company.
He spearheads the team’s efforts to develop hypersonic technology orders of magnitude more time and efficient than seen by traditional defense contractors. Keane’s real-world experience with propulsion and hypersonics at multiple large defense contractors provides significant insight into what it takes to get a challenging system from a back-of-the-napkin sketch to end- product.
“As a veteran-owned small business we bring unmatched understanding of defense customers and how to meet their needs,” says Keane. “We are a warfighter-owned, warfighter-operated company developing technology for fellow warfighters. Plus, this technology has wide commercial applications as well.”
Velontra’s Chief Technology Officer Joel Darin is one of the nation’s renowned authorities on afterburners, an auxiliary burner fitted to the exhaust system of a jet engine to increase thrust.
Darin possesses extensive experience with afterburner design for applications ranging from large military to commercial hypersonic platforms. Darin’s previous experience at both large defense prime contractors and small startups has taught him what works and what does not– at both ends of the spectrum.
“This technology can be developed for drastically reduced amounts of money and time as compared to what’s accepted today as the baseline,” Darin says. “We are going to design integrated systems instead of just the subcomponents that will then need to be integrated with separate systems designed by other companies. Velontra will design and build the propulsion and vehicle platform concurrently.”
This vertically aligned approach, first embraced by Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works during World War II, is what Velontra anticipates will help it become the SpaceX of hypersonics. (Source: PR Newswire)
28 Jun 21. Cobham targets Ultra Electronics for potential takeover.
The private equity-owned defence company is exploring the creation of “a global defence electronics champion”
- Ultra Electronics says that the two companies have only discussed the combination of specific business units, not a full takeover
- Jefferies analyst Sandy Morris believes that a full merger is “a challenging proposition”
Ultra Electronics’s (ULE) shares shot up by 7 per cent on Friday after it emerged that the company had been approached by fellow aerospace and defence group Cobham for a potential merger.
A statement released by Cobham – which is controlled by private equity firm Advent International – confirmed media speculation, and said that it was exploring the creation of “a global defence electronics champion” through “a number of structures.” This could include a takeover, or a merger in which it receives new shares in the combined group.
But those share price gains were largely erased this morning in response to a strongly worded statement issued by Ultra Electronics on Friday evening, which indicated that it would not welcome a takeover offer with open arms.
Ultra says that the two companies were only in the “very early stages of exploratory discussions” around a possible combination of certain divisions – its intelligence and communications unit, and Cobham’s electronics business CAES. It says that it was “expressly made clear” that a full takeover was not on the table, and it has now terminated these discussions.
Under Takeover Code rules, Cobham has until close of play on 23 July to make a firm bid or walk away. If it decides to proceed, it may well have to resort to a hostile takeover.
Jefferies analyst Sandy Morris says that the conflicting accounts from the two companies suggest that “the gloves have come off at some point.”
He believes that a full merger between Cobham and Ultra Electronics is “a challenging proposition”, but says that the specific tie-up mentioned by Ultra “might be attractive.” Ultra’s intelligence and communications business includes Herley Industries – an electronic warfare specialist it bought for $265m in 2015 – which crosses over with Cobham’s CAES division in the field of radio frequency and microwave technology.
A controversial proposition
Even without the ‘hostile’ element, a consolidation of Cobham and Ultra Electronics wouldn’t be without controversy, not least because it involves the realm of defence and would also equate to a foreign private equity takeover by stealth.
Cobham was purchased by US buyout firm Advent International for £4bn last year. Despite opposition from the founding family, the deal was given the greenlight by then business secretary Andrea Leadsom, who said that national security risks had been mitigated to “an acceptable level.”
“Advent’s acquisition of Cobham was controversial,” says Morris. “The acquisition of Ultra is likely to be even more controversial.”
It could trigger an intervention under the new National Security and Investment Act 2021, and the government would face pressure to at least be seen to be doing something in light of its handling of the Cobham takeover.
Ultra is no stranger to contentious takeovers itself. Back in 2017, it struck an agreement to acquire its joint venture (JV) partner Sparton for $234m (£167m). But the deal fell through after the US Department of Justice raised competition concerns, and Sparton was eventually snapped up by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management. Their JV known as ERAPSCO remains operational and supplies the US navy with ‘sonobuoys’ – electronic sensors that detect enemy submarines.
UK defence companies under attack?
Ultra Electronics isn’t the only defence company to have attracted the interest of private equity this year. Lone Star had been circling Senior (SNR), but recently walked away after its fifth approach at 200p per share was rejected. It was likely looking to pick up a bargain given Senior’s exposure to civil aerospace, a sector that has been hammered by the Covid-19 crisis. Indeed, Senior’s shares have only recently reached their pre-pandemic levels thanks to investor excitement over a possible takeover.
If embattled Senior can hold its ground, Ultra is in an even better position to either fend off a takeover approach or demand a high premium. The shares have bounced back strongly from a profit warning that sent its shares tumbling in 2017, and the company has also powered through the pandemic thanks to robust defence spending by the so-called ‘five eyes’ nations – the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Operating profit rose by 13 per cent in 2020 to £106m, and Ultra entered 2021 with a record £1.1bn order book.
So, even if a Cobham takeover doesn’t materialise, Ultra’s outlook is still positive as it continues to win new orders. Its expertise in electronic warfare and cybersecurity leaves it well positioned for shifting defence spending priorities, and its accelerated ‘Focus; Fix; Grow’ transformation plan should underpin higher margins. Buy at 2,166p.
Last IC View: Buy, 2,086p, 09 Mar 2021 (Source: Investors Chronicle)
28 Jun 21. Excelitas Technologies Announces Agreement to Acquire PCO AG.
Excelitas expands photonics portfolio with PCO’s scientific CMOS camera technologies for high-performance imaging in scientific research and industrial quality control and metrology. Excelitas Technologies Corp., a global industrial technology leader delivering innovative products and custom photonic solutions, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire PCO AG, based in Kelheim, Germany. A privately held company, PCO is a market-leading designer, developer and manufacturer of high-end scientific CMOS cameras for both biomedical and high-speed industrial imaging applications. Excelitas will acquire 100 percent of PCO AG shares from founder, Dr. Emil Ott.
“We are delighted to have PCO join the Excelitas organization,” said Michael Ersoni, Excelitas Executive Vice President, Commercial SBU. “PCO is a pioneer and foundational developer of the scientific CMOS camera technology. Combining their superior imaging products and capabilities into Excelitas’ expanding portfolio of sensing, illumination, and optical products will enable us to leverage our product breadth and application knowledge to provide deeper end-to-end customer solutions across the life science and industrial markets.”
Dr. Emil Ott, founder of PCO, added, “We are very excited to join the Excelitas family, whose infrastructure and global presence will expand the reach and capabilities of our own high-performance cameras to grow in this expanding global market.”
The transaction is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks. Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed and are pending customary regulatory clearances and approvals. PCO is the latest in a series of strategic acquisitions by Excelitas Technologies since its founding in 2010 and is the fourth such acquisition since Excelitas was purchased by AEA Investors in December 2017.
25 Jun 21. Astra Will Acquire Apollo Fusion. According to Astra‘s Chief Engineer, Mr. Benjamin Lyon, the company is definitely acquiring Apollo Fusion. In a statement on the firm’s infosite, he noted the following…
“This acquisition enables Astra to efficiently deliver and operate throughout our solar system, and brings incredible technology and talent into our team.
Benjamin Lyon “So, what is this all really about? At Astra we’re focused on rapid and affordable access to space. This really requires two kinds of transportation: You always have to first fly from Earth to a low orbit on the edge of space, and Astra shines in getting you to the best possible low orbit for your mission. However, often you need to keep going — to fly higher in space for your operational mission. And this is where Apollo comes in.
“Let’s dig into this a bit. When flying from the ground to space, you need powerful, high-thrust engines to overcome gravity and push the vehicle with its payload through the atmosphere at an ever-increasing speed. This requires a LOT of thrust and consumes a huge amount of fuel – typically, 90% or more of the weight of a rocket ready to lift off is fuel. Once you get to space and are in a low orbit, the spacecraft is floating in zero gravity, so you can use very small forces to move around. This is analogous to a getting a boat into a lake – it’s very heavy to lift and carry it on the ground, but light paddling will move it easily once it’s in the water.
“This “paddling” is where electric propulsion (EP) systems come into play in space. Harnessing the power of the sun, they use electricity to accelerate a very small flow of inert gas to high speed, producing a constant, low thrust that is highly efficient. The high efficiency allows a spacecraft to slowly but continuously accelerate, which moves it to a higher and higher orbit. This makes EP an excellent solution for going from low earth orbits to medium, high, or geostationary orbits, and even to the moon or beyond!
“We chose Apollo Fusion because they had developed a leading EP system that is cost-effective and reliable, at scale. Apollo’s design cycles are measured in months, not years, and their solutions are both easy to manufacture and to assemble. They don’t see their job as done when they have something that initially works. Apollo continues to optimize for manufacturability and scalability.
“Astra has purposefully drawn its talent from beyond the aerospace industry, and bringing the best practices from tech, automotive, services and other industries has been a key element to our rapid progress to date. Apollo Founder and CEO, Mike Cassidy, shares the same belief in the value diverse skill sets bring. He has both the understanding and experience of how bring consumer technologies like high performance, low power processing to aerospace, with team members from companies such as SpaceX, Google, Tesla and Apple. Their deep expertise is important too: Apollo team members have contributed to over 2,000 satellites in orbit today. Their culture shares Astra’s focus on maximizing development velocity, designing for scale, and passion about the opportunity that space creates.
“We are delighted to welcome the Apollo Fusion team into the Astra team! I’m excited to see what we do together.
L;Astra has announced the company’s planned acquisition of Apollo Fusion in a transaction valued up to $145m.
Apollo Fusion manufactures a leading electric propulsion engine. This acquisition allows Astra to provide launch and space services beyond LEO to MEO, GEO and lunar orbits.
Under the agreement, Astra is acquiring Apollo Fusion for a purchase price of $50m: $30m in stock and $20m in cash. Additionally, there is potential for earn-outs of up to $95m: $10m in employee incentive stock, $10m in cash for reaching technical milestones, and $75m ($60 m in stock, $15m in cash) for reaching revenue milestones. PJT Partners is acting as financial advisor to Astra in connection with this series of transactions.
“In addition to increasing Astra’s total addressable market for launch services, the acquisition of Apollo Fusion accelerates Astra’s ability to efficiently deliver and operate spacecraft beyond low Earth orbit,” said Astra Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Chris Kemp.
“Scale is what makes innovation matter,” said Reid Hoffman, partner at Greylock and lead investor in Apollo Fusion. “I’m excited that Apollo Fusion will be a key enabler of Astra’s hyperscale space platform.”
“Propulsion systems open new destinations,” said Apollo Fusion Founder and CEO, Mike Cassidy. “Our team is excited to combine the flexibility of in-space propulsion with the world’s most responsive launch provider.”
In addition to Cassidy, the acquisition brings a team with experience from companies such as Google, Tesla, and SpaceX, with individuals who have developed, designed and manufactured hardware flying on more than 2,000 satellites on-orbit today. This transaction will close after Astra’s business combination with Holicity (NASDAQ: HOL) is completed and is expected to be accretive to revenue starting this year.
Earlier this year, Astra and the Holicity Inc. (NASDAQ: HOL) SPAC announced a definitive business combination agreement that will result in Astra becoming a publicly traded company. The transaction reflects an implied pro-forma enterprise value for Astra of approximately $2.1bn. Upon closing, the transaction is expected to provide up to $500m in cash proceeds, including up to $300m of cash held in the trust account of Holicity and an upsized $200m PIPE led by funds and accounts managed by BlackRock.
“This transaction takes us a step closer to our mission of improving life on Earth from space by fully funding our plan to provide daily access to low Earth orbit from anywhere on the planet,” said Chris Kemp, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Astra.
“I have long believed space provides an unmatched opportunity to benefit and enrich society,” said Craig McCaw, Chairman and CEO of Holicity. “Astra’s space platform will further improve our communications, help us protect our planet, and unleash entrepreneurs to launch a new generation of services to enhance our lives.”
With more than 50 launches in manifest across more than 10 private and public customers, including NASA and DoD, Astra has booked over $150m of contracted launch revenue. Astra will begin delivering customer payloads this summer and start monthly launches by the end of this year. Upon the closing of the transaction, the combined company will be named Astra and will be listed on NASDAQ under the symbol “ASTR.” (Source: Satnews)
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