Friday, 12 October 2012

EADS/BAE deal collapse not Germany's fault: defence minister

 The collapse of the mega aerospace and defence deal between Britain's BAE Systems and Europe's EADS was not Germany's fault, German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Wednesday.

Asked if German opposition was to blame, after France and Germany appeared close to an accord on the merger, de Maiziere said he "did not share" that opinion.

"I take note of (the failure of the deal) and I am not totally surprised," de Maiziere said, adding: "It is a commercial decision."

He said such a deal always has two sides to it, the offering side and in this case "the defence ministries, that is the taxpayer."

The two firms had issued a joint statement earlier which said: "BAE Systems and EADS announce that they have decided to terminate their discussions" on a merger.

The groups insisted the deal had been based on "sound industrial logic" which "represented a unique opportunity to create a combination from two strong and successful companies greater than the sum of the parts."

The $45 billion (35-billion-euro) deal would have created a huge aerospace and defence company spanning the globe, with a key foothold in the US market via BAE that would have been more than able to compete with US giant Boeing, EADS' long-time rival.

Analysts had suggested that Germany was unhappy with the planned tie-up because it feared being sidelined.

It looked on Tuesday as if France had opened the way for an extension of the talks, with sources saying it had agreed to limit its shareholding to leave Paris and Berlin with equal shares.

But analysts said Germany feared that if the deal went ahead, the power behind the civilian arm of the group would shift to Toulouse in southern France where airliner manufacturer Airbus is based.

Military operations would have been run from Britain where BAE Systems is based.

One source, who declined to be named, said that "it did not work because the Germans blocked it."

In London, BAE Systems said it had terminated the talks because some of the governments involved could not reach an agreement.

BAE Systems chief executive Ian King said the firms "were unable to reach an acceptable agreement with our various government stakeholders."

He said: "We believe the merger presented a unique opportunity for BAE Systems and EADS to combine two world-class and complementary businesses to create a world leading aerospace, defence and security group."

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