General Dynamics to buy Force Protection for $360M

SUMMERVILLE, SC - General Dynamics announced Monday that it will buy Force Protection Inc., which makes armored vehicles, in a deal worth $360 million.

Force Protection Inc. in Summverille will become a part of General Dynamics Land Systems, the defense contractor's Sterling Heights, Mich.-based designer and manufacturer of Abrams main battle tanks and Stryker infantry combat vehicles.

Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics Corp. said the addition of Force Protection will expand its armored vehicle business and add new products to its lineup.

It is paying $5.52 for each Force Protection share, a 31 percent premium to the target company's closing stock price of $4.21 on Friday. Its shares rose $1.29, or 30.6 percent, to $5.50 in premarket trading.

General Dynamics said it will begin a tender offer for all of Force Protection's outstanding shares. The deal, which has been approved by the boards of both companies and is subject to antitrust approval, is expected to close by the end of the year.

General Dynamics said it expects the addition of Force Protection to boost its profits in 2012.

Force Protection has about 1,100 employees that design, manufacture and test mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles and other products designed to protect soldiers from landmines, hostile fire and explosives.

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