Arnold & Porter acts for BAE on DigitalNet acquisition

Washington DC firm Arnold & Porter has strengthened its relationship with BAE Systems after the firm scooped its first corporate instruction for the UK defence giant.

Arnold & Porter, which has historically advised BAE on Ministry of Defence and IP matters, was brought in to handle the due diligence relating to the company’s acquisition of DigitalNet Holdings for $600m (£333.8m) in cash and assumed debt.

The firm worked alongside longstanding US adviser Cravath Swaine & Moore, which handled the bulk of the corporate work on the deal. Neither firm had to pitch for the work.

BAE head of legal Michael Lester commented: “There was no beauty parade. We use firms which we know and are comfortable with. We often use more than one firm on deals of this nature.”

The deal, which was agreed on 12 September, is BAE’s largest US acquisition in four years. It follows a string of smaller purchases by the company’s acquisitive North American arm.

Washington DC-based DigitalNet, which makes secure Pentagon computer networks, was advised by its longstanding adviser Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson.

BAE expects to complete the acquisition by the end of the fourth quarter of 2004.