Cobham’s aerial refuelling wing Cobham Mission Systems (CMS) has been sold to US-headquartered diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton for $2.8bn, 14 times the company’s 2020 earnings.

US private equity fund Advent International bought historic aerospace company Cobham last year and subsequently restructured the company into nine divisions including CMS.

The sale prompted concerns from opponents that Advent would split the company up to sell of its components.

In a statement, Eaton industrial sector president and chief operating officer Heath Monesmith said: “Cobham Mission Systems’ highly complementary products and strong position on growing defence platforms will enhance our fuel systems business and position our Aerospace business for future growth.”

Eaton’s existing offering includes aerial and ground refuelling components. The company is based in Ireland but is headquartered in the US.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2021, subject to regulatory conditions.

Commenting on the sale, a government spokesperson told Air Force Technology: “We are aware of the sale of Cobham Mission Systems to Eaton Corporation and the Government remains in regular contact with Cobham Limited.”

In November 2019, the government announced it was consulting on steps to address national security concerns associated with the sale of Cobham to Advent.

At the time, the government said it was satisfied by the steps taken to mitigate national security risks and cleared the merger.

Previously, Cobham offloaded its 13% stake in Airtanker and has also sold its antenna and radio business unit Cobham Aerospace Connectivity (CAC) to TransDigm for $965m.