They call it “going over the barbed wire”. The phrase, coined by one of the City’s top investment banks, describes a dealmaking feat that would be brave or foolhardy, depending on your point of view. It refers to attempting a takeover of the jewel in Britain’s industrial crown, the jet- engine maker Rolls-Royce. The many obstacles to such a deal have put off would-be suitors in the past. The government holds a golden share that gives it veto rights over a change of control. Rolls’s reactors power Britain’s fleet of nuclear warhead-armed submarines. It is one of a handful of companies capable of building jet engines to fly a 250-ton plane around the world. Its Merlin engines won the Battle of Britain. Yet due to the pandemic, the prospect of Rolls-Royce losing its independence, or requiring state support, has become less of a moonshot than at any time in recent history.
Times 14th Feb 2021 read more »