Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has acquired Aeronautics Ltd., one of Israel’s leading developers of unmanned aerial systems. The deal will be finalised in the coming days.
Heading an industry group focused on unmanned solutions, systems and subsystems, Aeronautics provides integrated turnkey solutions based on unmanned systems platforms, payloads and communications for defence and civil applications.
Upon closing the deal, Rafael will hold 50% of Aeronautics, with partner, businessman Avichai Stolero, holding the other half. The move comes as part of Rafael’s long-term strategy to evaluate and implement new areas of growth, including by M&A of unmanned platform companies.
Aeronautics will take part in some of Rafael’s innovation projects, with a vision to increase mutual growth, explore new markets, and provide end-to-end solutions in the low-tier aerial domain, relying on best practices, mutual expertise and capabilities, to create new synergies and solutions.
The acquisition comes after fierce bidding for Aeronautics by Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), which, according to reports, launched a counter-proposal after Rafael's and Stolero's initial bid was declined by Aeronautics. The deal was reportedly valued at 850 million shekels (£200 million).
Rafael president and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Yoav Har-Even said Aeronautics’ scientists and engineers bring with them vast experience, knowhow and unique technologies. “Connecting those with Rafael’s technological richness, proven systems, infrastructure and resources, financial robustness, and most importantly, our excellent human capital, is a force-multiplier, guaranteed to be of high technological and strategic value in helping us to reach our goals.”