US investors buy Thales assets

JF Lehman and Thomas Weisel have signed a deal worth £85m for subsidiaries of Thales, the French electronics company.

Two US private equity firms – JF Lehman and Thomas Weisel Capital Partners – have paid £85m for Racal Instruments, a company that supplies test systems for radio communications in both the commercial and military electronics markets.

The deal, which also includes Thales Instruments, comprises £62m cash for shares in Racal Instruments, £11m in promissory notes, and a special net dividend of £12m paid to the former owner Thales, an electronics company based in France targeting the aerospace, defence and IT sectors. Thales will also be paid a license fee for a 20-yr period, for the Racal Instruments trade name.

Thomas Weisel Capital Partners is a E1.4bn private equity fund sponsored by the merchant bank Thomas Weisel Partners. JF Lehman has a $130m fund that it invests in technical manufacturing and service companies.