Dassault Aviation has entered “exclusive negotiations” with Alcatel-Lucent to take over its 20.8-percent stake in defense electronics specialist Thales. The buyout would boost Dassault’s stake in Thales to 26 percent and mark a strong return to defense electronics for the French airframer at a time when the economic slowdown is threatening sales of business jets.
According to the Financial Times, the takeover price being discussed is ?1.57 billion ($2 billion). Dassault has until December 15 to finalize discussions with Alcatel-Lucent. The telecommunications equipment supplier is selling its stake in Thales to focus on its own “strategic problems,” according to published reports. While synergies exist between the Dassault and Thales product lines, there is speculation that Dassault might want to sell off non-aerospace branches of the company, such as the stake Thales holds in the DCN naval shipyard.