CI VIEW: Leonardo Chairman De Gennaro opens door for BAE Systems merger

MILAN (BBN) — Leonardo SpA (BIT:LDO) Chairman Gianni de Gennaro said a merger with listed UK defense giant BAE Systems (LSE:BA) “could be an idea” at a recent company event in Milan.

[Leonardo (BIT:LDO) Chairman Gianni de Gennaro tells Capitol Intelligence Group using CI Glass that merger with BAE Systems (LSE:BA) “could be an idea” during Leonardo Innovation awards with Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo at the Museo Leonardo Da Vinci in Milan. November 20, 2017]

De Gennaro’s openness to pursuing a full merger with BAE Systems marks a strategic departure for the listed Italian defense and civil aviation group and indicates the smaller national defense champion is now seeking a merger with a major European defense contractor.

BAE Systems, under pressure to find a strong European defense partner with the looming exit of the United Kingdom out of the EU on March 2019, has historic and close cultural ties with Rome-based Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica). 

BAE Systems spokesman Rowan Pearman declined to  comment on any possible merger with Leonardo. Under the UK Takeover Panel code, a company cannot pursue a merger for at least six months following a denial of interest.

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