In June 2021, Cobham, a competitor, ambushed Ultra by announcing it was considering an unsolicited bid. MHP’s job was to make it clear Ultra had a strong independent future, and Ultra’s Board would not recommend an offer unless it fully reflected the company’s true value.
Over the next two months we executed a wide-ranging bid defence, using the media to highlight Ultra’s value to investors and wider stakeholders.
Once the bid was recommended, we worked through a Government intervention on national security grounds to communicate the deal’s rationale, and the protections Ultra secured for its staff and stakeholders.
Despite significant opposition to the deal, it was approved in August 2022. Regardless of the criticism, the bid defence and conduct of Ultra’s Board throughout the transaction was praised by the media, including one headline from The Times: “To put up or shut up? Ultra Electronics’ results made that an easy decision for Cobham”.
Ultra was the most sensitive successful transaction in the UK defence industry’s history. The offer price secured by Ultra was described as “unassailable”, and the protections achieved for Ultra’s stakeholders set a new benchmark for national security undertakings.