Joanna Nolasco March 22, 2016
KKR has agreed to acquire Airbus Group’s (PAR: AIR) defense electronics business, a transaction that gives the unit an enterprise value of about €1.1 billion. The sale is in line with Airbus’ 2014 portfolio review that deemed space (launchers & satellites), military aircraft, missiles and related systems & services as the future core businesses of the Airbus Defence and Space division; the review set aside units like defense electronics as divestment candidates.
Although it’s slated to part ways with Airbus, the defense electronics unit is a “profitable business with significant growth potential,” according to Airbus Defence and Space CEO Bernhard Gerwert. Indeed, the business—comprised of military sensors, electronic warfare, avionics and optronics—boasts annual revenues of about €1 billion and roughly 4,000 employees globally.
The investment potential in the aerospace & defense sector overall hasn’t been lost on PE investors. According to the PitchBook Platform, PE firms completed about 70 deals each year between 2013 and 2015, an over 20% increase from the 58 deals closed in 2012. Perhaps recent exit activity will encourage further investment into the sector this year, as PE shops closed a decade high of 28 exits from aerospace & defense companies in 2015.
1. ACE Management (9)