Timon Schneider | Dreamstime
Analyst checks out Spirit AeroSystems.

Boeing Set to Launch Spirit Aero Takeover

June 27, 2024
A $4-billion, mostly-stock bid will be made for the aerostructures business as the OEM strives to recover process and quality control over the 737 and 787 programs – with some cooperation from Airbus.

Boeing Co. is preparing to initiate its already declared plan to acquire Spirit AeroSystems, part of the larger effort to recover process and quality control over its 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliner programs, and to regain the confidence of regulators and airlines. According to various reports, Boeing will make a $4.08-billion offer comprised largely of stock to acquire the aircraft structures manufacturer.

Neither Boeing nor Spirit AeroSystems has commented on the reported details of the takeover plan.

In March, Boeing confirmed expectations that it aimed to takeover its major supplier. Spirit AeroSystems manufactures fuselage assemblies for the 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliner, and it has been the object of much scrutiny over recent years owing to a series of structural and maintenance issues on those aircraft, which are Boeing’s most profitable series.

The manufacturer-supplier relationship became even more difficult after the January incident involving a midflight failure of the side-door plug on a 737 MAX 9 jet, a structural component of the aircraft manufactured by Spirit and completed by Boeing. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the failure did not conclude which company was responsible for the defect.

Spirit AeroSystems is a business spun off from Boeing in 2005, and the current organization consists of operations collected from subsequent acquisitions, in North America, Europe, and northern Africa.

Last fall Boeing invested $100 million in Spirit AeroSystems in a move meant to stabilize the business, and Boeing has been supporting the supplier financially to a further extent since the slowdown of the 737 program has affected Spirit too.

One complication in finalizing the takeover offer has been Spirit AeroSystems’ role as a supplier of aircraft structures to Boeing’s chief rival, Airbus SA. The slowdown at Boeing has had add-on effects at Spirit Aero and other major suppliers, which has resulted in supply-chain problems for Airbus too.

Reportedly, Boeing and Airbus have agreed on a division of Spirit's assets that will involve the latter company acquiring some operations that supply structures to its A350, A220, and A320neo aircraft programs.