The Israeli company Aeronautics Ltd which develops military drones and has over 45 defense, military, and homeland security customers worldwide has been quite sought after since last year. Now, Israeli defense technology company Rafael and businessman Avihai Stolero have offered to acquire Aeronautics at a valuation of over $230 million, nearly twice as high as their $116.6 million bid rejected by the drone maker in August. Aeronautics had rejected a 430 million shekel offer from Rafael and Stolero last August.
Aeronautics released a statement which declared that it has agreed to enter into exclusive negotiations with Rafael and Stolero. The offer was made to Aeronautics by an unnamed company owned jointly by Rafael and Stolero on Saturday and is pending a due diligence process to be completed by March 1 at the latest. If the deal is successful, Aeronautics will de-list from the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, becoming a private company once more, the statement added.
Once the deal goes through it will be the end of speculations about the company’s financial health and several bids of taking over or buying Aeronautics that were underway since last year. In September 2017, just three months after it listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, the Israeli police and the Israeli Ministry of Defense launched an investigation into Aeronautics, the details of which have been placed under a gag order. That did not seem to dampen the company’s prospects however.
Since December, Panamanian company ERJ-145 NUA Inc., controlled by Israeli businessman and billionaire Aaron Gover Frenkel, acquired in a series of deals a 20% stake in Aeronautics.
Earlier this month, state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries [ISRAI.UL] said it was in early talks to invest in Aeronautics.
Aeronautics had also announced it was in negotiations with government-owned defense contractor Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) and several third parties concerning a possible acquisition.
In January Aeronautics had announced a five-year partnership deal with Rafael to collaborate on the development, production, marketing, and distribution of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system.
Now, with this offer from Rafael and businessman Avihai Stolero news agency Reuters reports that the shares of Aeronautics moved up 37 % in morning trade in Tel Aviv on Sunday.