The Milan-listed aerospace and defense sector group Leonardo announced on Friday 23 April the acquisition of 25.1% of Hensoldt, a leading German defense electronics company, for 606 million euros or 23 euros per share . The stake is sold by Square Lux Holding II sarl, a vehicle of private equity firm KKR, which is liquidating its remaining stake in the listed company in Frankfurt (see the press release here). Leonardo is said to have beaten the offers of French Thales, Spanish Indra and Swedish Saab.
UBS and DB acted respectively as lead financial advisor and financial advisor to Leonardo. Clifford Chance acted as Leonardo’s legal advisor.
Following the finalization of the transaction, expected in the second half of the year, Leonardo will become the major shareholder of Hensoldt, together with Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), which in turn had announced the acquisition of a stake of 25.1 % in the company last December (see the press release here). The sale price in that case was not specified, but according to Reuters it should be 464 million euros.
Hensoldt landed on the Frankfurt stock exchange in September 2020 after an ipo at 12 euros per share. The company had been acquired by KKR in 2016, taking over it from the Airbus group (see here the press release at the time) and after the ipo it had maintained a stake of more than 60%.
Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo ceo, said: “We are excited about the investment in Hensoldt as the catalyst for the establishment of closer cooperation that will further enhance our respective positions in the growing defence electronics market. We believe that this step will create value for all our shareholders as it will bring together complementary strengths to serve more customers and partners with the solutions they need, whilst preserving national technologies and capabilities. This investment also reflects our long-held view on the importance of building cooperation across the European aerospace and defence industry and demonstrates the determination of Leonardo to play an active role in this development”.
Thomas Müller, ceo of Hensoldt, said: “We very much welcome Leonardo’s investment in Hensoldt. With this transaction, we will have a second long-term anchor shareholder in our company and a strong potential strategic partner with whom we are already successfully working together on a number of programs. As a leading provider of sensor solutions for defence and security applications, we see multiple opportunities of working together with Leonardo to further support our successful strategy and to be able to strengthen Hensoldt’s long-term growth”.