Hidden depths: Tracing corporate ownership and its implications in the U.K. defence industry

Derek Braddon

Abstract


Over the last 15 years, the ownership of U.K. and global defense companies has changed beyond recognition. A series of mergers, takeovers, strategic alliances and joint ventures in the defense industry, within and across geographic borders, has created a number of major defense systems providers, supported by a larger but again increasingly concentrated group of first-tier supply chain companies. The complex ownership matrix that emerges from this process of industrial restructuring is well-known although the implications for the industry and for corporate behavior have been less well explored. Furthermore, behind the scenes, an even more complex, almost invisible ownership revolution is taking place as the nature, origin, and power of global investors shows distinct signs of change. There has been little research into who actually owns the defense industry. The article sets out ask how that ownership is changing, and with what consequences. These issues are examined from the perspective of a sample of U.K. defense companies. The article also seeks to address the fundamental question: Does defense company ownership matter?

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15355/epsj.3.1.64

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