Leonardo S.p.A., formerly Leonardo-Finmeccanica and Finmeccanica, is an Italian global high-tech company and one of the key players in aerospace, defence and security. When Finmeccanica, a world leader in the supply of electronics equipment and defense and security systems and services, moved to acquire DRS Technologies, Inc., a leading U.S. supplier of integrated defense electronics products, services and support, the Italian defense contractor hired Qorvis to manage its communications affairs as it navigated issues relevant to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
As the acquirer of an American defense contractor, Finmeccanica had serious concerns about the implications of its transaction on the CFIUS process. In the year prior, in February 2006, the DP World controversy took place, provoking a wide-scale national security debate in the U.S. At issue was the sale of port management businesses in six major U.S. seaports to a company based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and whether such a sale would compromise port security. The controversy resulted in the deal being scuttled. Finmeccanica, well aware of this situation, was about to make the largest acquisition of an American defense firm in history.
For Finmeccanica, Qorvis recognized that it was essential to address CFIUS issues with an affirmative and positive message, so as not to be forced into a defensive posture after the Committee had initiated review. Qorvis helped all parties to be aware of sensitive, classified, or export-controlled information that could come up, and also drafted materials shaping the message on the controversial points that would arise. This gave decision makers concise statements for consideration.
To manage these issues and others, Qorvis worked seamlessly with Finmeccanica to develop strategies and communication efforts for the acquisition. Qorvis’ depth and breadth of knowledge about CFIUS and other Exon-Florio challenges helped guide Finmeccanica’s transaction to completion on time and without any negative media fallout. Qorvis’ understanding helped Finmeccanica coordinate the execution of its strategy.