Why BAE bought Ball Aerospace and why it matters
The acquisition will deepen BAE’s relationship with NASA, a key Ball Aerospace customer, and boost the UK weapons giant’s environmental monitoring and surveillance as it responds to climate change.
For some time now there has been a growing air of confidence around BAE Systems.
That was underlined when, earlier this year, the UK’s biggest defence contractor reported a record order book.
And it was further emphasised when, today, BAE announced it is spending $5.55bn (£4.35bn) on the aerospace division of the US packaging giant Ball Corporation.
The deal, described by BAE as a «unique opportunity to strengthen BAE Systems’ world class multi-domain portfolio», is the biggest acquisition this year by a British company.
The Ball Corporation is a specialist supplier of satellite systems, geospatial intelligence, tactical solutions and antenna arrays.
The acquisition of its aerospace arm takes BAE more deeply into both the space sector and into what, in defence industry jargon, is described as ‘C4ISR’ — command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Ball, the world’s biggest maker of aluminium drink cans, put the business up for sale earlier this year as it seeks to focus on packaging and to reduce its $9.7bn debt pile — which is partly a legacy of its £4.5bn takeover of Rexam, the former FTSE-100 packaging group, in June 2016.
Rivals beaten by BAE
BAE faced stiff competition to buy the business.