U.K. digs in over EADS-BAE merger

Oct 08, 2012, 1:11 PM EDT
U.K. defense minister Philip Hammond delivers his speech to the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, England on October 7, 2012. Hammond says his opposition to France lifting its sake in a merged EADS and BAE Systems beyond 9% is "not a momentary one".
Getty Images/Matt Cardy

Britain is prepared to explore the possibility of France and Germany having equal, single-digit stakes in any merger between defence firms EADS and BAE Systems, U.K. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said. But he added that his opposition to France, which owns 15% of EADS, lifting its stake in the merged group beyond a diluted level of 9%, was "not a momentary one". The French government wants to keep open an option to buy French media company Lagardere's 7.5% stake in EADS. The three countries continued talks on resolving their disagreement over the extent of state shareholdings in the proposed merger ahead of an October 10 deadline for the deal to receive political backing. It remains on a knife-edge.