United Kingdom

As Nigel Rudd flogs yet ANOTHER flagship business to a foreign firm, we chart his career history 

City grandee Sir Nigel Rudd is leading the sale of yet another prized British company to a foreign firm. 

Rudd is chairman of aerospace and defence group Meggitt, which has been swooped on by American industrials giant ParkerHannifin in a £6.3 billion deal. 

The deal has thrust Rudd, 74, into the spotlight once again. He splits opinion in the City, with many hailing him as a deal-maker extraordinaire. 

Track record: City grandee Sir Nigel Rudd is leading the sale of yet another prized British company to a foreign firm

But for years he has been dubbed by his detractors as 'The Man Who Sold Britain' because of his appetite for a deal. During his 50-year career he has overseen of a slew of foreign takeovers, most notably Boots in 2006. 

He grew up in Derby and qualified as Britain's youngest chartered accountant when he was just 20. He received a knighthood for services to the manufacturing industry in 1996. 

But should the Meggitt merger go through, it will be the seventh mega-deal Rudd has overseen with an overseas buyer and the second in the space of a year. The serial chairman's major selling spree took place between 2006 and 2012. During this time he sold glass maker Pilkington to Japan's Nippon Sheet Glass for £2 billion in 2006. 

And he steered two deals with the celebrated industrial group Invensys, which sold a key division to Siemens in 2012 and the rest to a French group, Schneider Electric, for £4.3 billion in 2013. He combined high street staple Boots with Alliance Unichem in 2006 and then sold the newly formed company to a private equity group just a year later. 

Rudd is chairman of aerospace and defence group Meggitt, which has been swooped on by American industrials giant ParkerHannifin in a £6.3 billion deal

Another selling spell began last year when he gave his blessing to the takeover of private jet services provider Signature Aviation – previously known as BBA – to American private equity behemoth Blackstone. Rudd was meant to step down as Meggitt's chairman last year but when Covid broke out the company said he was postponing his retirement for continuity. 

Rudd and the rest of the board have already backed the 800p per-share offer and he will walk away with £2 million when he sells his shares in the group. He has already earned more than £2.1 million in chairman fees from his time at Meggitt. 

He said of the deal: 'Whilst Meggitt is currently pursuing a strong, standalone strategy, which will deliver value to shareholders over the long term, Parker's offer provides the opportunity to significantly accelerate and de-risk those plans, while continuing to deliver for shareholders.' 

Whilst Meggitt is currently pursuing a strong, standalone strategy, Parker's offer provides the opportunity to significantly accelerate and de-risk those plans, while continuing to deliver for shareholders

The sale is a blow for Meggitt, which traces its origins back to the 1850s when it made instruments such as the altimeter for the world's first hot air balloons. It now has a 9,000-strong global workforce, including 2,000 in the UK, and makes parts for planes and military aircraft such as the Royal Air Force's Typhoon jets. 

Parker has made the rare move of including a number of pledges upfront, which include keeping Meggitt's UK headquarters and investing in the company's research and development arm. 

But in a surprise move Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is already understood to be plotting to intervene in the takeover. Whitehall sources last night said he was taking an 'active interest' and wanted much firmer pledges from Parker-Hannifin to protect jobs and Meggitt's business in the UK. 

The tie-up talks were announced alongside half-year results that showed Meggitt had made profits of £49 million in the first six months of the year – up from a loss in the same period of 2020 – on revenues of £680 million.    

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