The UK Government has initiated a probe into the £4bn acquisition of UK aerospace firm Cobham by US private equity company Advent International over national security concerns.

UK Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom has sought the competition watchdog to intervene and evaluate the security implications in the transaction.

The deal was approved by Cobham’s shareholders earlier this week.

Leadsom was quoted by Independent.ie as saying that the government wants to ‘support private sector innovation whilst safeguarding the public interest’.

She said: “Following careful consideration of the proposed takeover of Cobham, I have issued an intervention notice on the grounds of national security.

“As part of the statutory process, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will now investigate and carry out a review on the national security implications of the transaction.”

The CMA has until 29 October to report on the impact of the deal.

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Following the CMA’s report to the government, Leadsom will decide if the transaction is in the public interest or whether an additional phase two investigation is needed.

Based in Wimborne Minster, Dorset, Cobham specialises in air-to-air refuelling technology and employs around 10,000 people, including 1,700 in the UK.

The company has also introduced highly integrated smart power switch controllers, which are claimed to be the first of their kind for space and satellite applications.

The UT36PFD103 and UT05PFD103 Smart Power Switch Controllers (SPSC) are designed to provide widespread fault detection, isolation and recovery capabilities.

The controllers also provide digitised telemetry of input voltage, output voltage and load current into a single device.