General Dynamics Buying Armored Vehicle Maker for $360 Million

Combination with Force Protection links tanks with specialty reconnaissance and urban combat vehicles

Defense manufacturer General Dynamics will pay $360 million to acquire Force Protection Inc., according to a merger agreement. The combination brings South Carolina-based Force Protection into General Dynamics Land Systems business unit, which manufacturers Abrams battle tanks and Stryker infantry combat vehicles. Force Protection's specialty armored vehicles include the Buffalo, Cougar, and Ocelot, and are used for reconnaissance and urban operations. General Dynamics described the vehicles as being “at the forefront of blast- and ballistic-protected technology.”

The proposed acquisition has been approved by directors of both companies, and Force Protection's board will recommend that shareholders tender their shares to the offer of $5.52 per share of common stock. The companies expect the transaction to be completed by the end of this year.

Force Protection Inc. chairman and CEO Michael Moody said the sale would maximize value for his firm’s stockholders. “With their armored vehicle business, General Dynamics will be able to pursue opportunities that we could not have pursued as a stand-alone company,” he explained. “As part of the General Dynamics family, our innovative products and offerings will continue to provide militaries worldwide critical assets that save troops' lives."

General Dynamics Land Systems produces wheeled, tracked, and amphibious combat vehicles to customers worldwide. "Force Protection complements and strategically expands General Dynamics' armored vehicle business, adding new products to the expansive portfolio of combat vehicles that we currently manufacture and support," according to Mark C. Roualet, president of General Dynamics Land Systems.

Force Protection’s armored equipment protects occupants from landmines, hostile fire, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and it supplied over 3,000 vehicles under the U.S. military's Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle program. It also supplies mine-protected vehicles to the U.K. Ministry of Defence, among other foreign customers.

Roualet said the acquisition will create new opportunities for General Dynamics Land Systems to serve domestic and international customers alike."

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