GD acquisition expands combat vehicle line

General Dynamics Corp. will pay $360 million to buy Force Protection, in a move that bolsters its line of armored vehicles designed to protect against IEDs and other explosive devices.

General Dynamics Corp. will acquire armored vehicle manufacturer Force Protection for $360 million or $5.52 per share of common stock, both companies announced Nov. 7.

The proposed acquisition has been approved by both companies’ boards of directors.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, General Dynamics will commence a tender offer for all outstanding shares of Force Protection common stock.

Force Protection’s specialty vehicles – including the Buffalo, Cougar and Ocelot – are designed and built with blast- and ballistic-protected technology. hey are designed specifically for reconnaissance and urban operations and to protect occupants from landmines, hostile fire and improvised explosive devices.

Once the definitive merger agreement is completed, Force Protection and its approximately 1,100 employees will become a part of General Dynamics Land Systems, the Sterling Heights, Mich.-based manufacturer of Abrams main battle tanks and Stryker infantry combat vehicles.

General Dynamics, of Falls Church, Va., ranks No. 5 on Washington Technology’s 2011 Top 100 list of the largest federal government contractors.

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