This means Morrisons is now likely to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, like a used tattoo at a yard sale.
There shouldn’t be such apathy when it comes to Meggitt, a company with a rich heritage stretching back over 170 years, which supplies crucial advanced instruments to the civil aviation industry, as well as aircraft components. military, including the US $ trillion F-. 35 fighter aircraft programs.
As an American company already with a strong presence in the UK, it would be difficult to block a deal with Parker Hannifin on national security grounds. Our greatest ally poses no threat to the safety of British civilians. On the contrary, the “special relationship” with the world’s greatest superpower makes us all much more secure.
Still, that shouldn’t be the only consideration here. BAE Systems and Rolls Royce remain unwaveringly British assets by virtue of the state’s gold share in both, and Babcock, the flight training provider to the Royal Air Force, has retained its independence.
But they are in the minority. In recent years alone, many of the largest companies in the industry have been sold either to private capital or to foreign buyers by a government with a “do it yourself” approach to foreign investment. .
GKN, which manufactured the Spitfire in WWII, is currently in the hands of “buy, improve, sell” industry specialist Melrose; satellite maker Inmarsat went to private equity firms Apax and Warburg Pincus for £ 2.6 billion in 2019; Boston-based buyout barons Advent completed a £ 4 billion swoop on Dorset-based supply expert Cobham last year; and the Signature private jet group was sold to a private consortium including Blackstone and Bill Gates in early 2021.
This is naive in the extreme and, in the case of the defense industry, certainly reckless, even when it comes to bidders from countries with which we have long-standing ties. Handing over control to anyone makes no sense.