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BAE Is Not in Merger Talks With U.S. Firms, CEO Says

June 16, 2003|From Reuters

BAE Systems, Europe's biggest arms maker, on Sunday rejected reports that it was in merger talks with U.S. defense firms and said it was under pressure to improve some European ventures.

"Any merger talk is just speculation," Chief Executive Mike Turner said at the Paris Air Show, although later he reiterated that the British firm's long-term strategy is to expand in the U.S. through acquisitions and mergers.

His comments came after recent reports that BAE has been considering hookups with such U.S. firms as Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and General Dynamics Corp.

Turner also rejected an unsourced report in the British newspaper the Sunday Times that BAE was considering General Dynamics as a merger partner or a buyer of its shipbuilding business in a three-way deal with Boeing.

He told reporters that BAE had been in close contact with General Dynamics about its Astute nuclear attack submarine after the program ran into major cost overruns.

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