Boeing has agreed to acquire Spirit AeroSystems, one of its key suppliers and manufacturing partners, as part of a strategy to rebuild its tarnished safety reputation.


The deal, valued at $4.7 billion in all-stock, or $37.25 per share, was announced on Monday following lengthy negotiations. Spirit AeroSystems, originally spun off by Boeing in 2005, will be reunited with its former parent company.

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Boeing’s decision to recombine with Spirit aims to enhance safety standards, addressing concerns that arose after the 2005 sale to private equity investors, which Boeing now considers a strategic mistake. This move is expected to bolster the reliability of Boeing’s supply chain, crucial for restoring trust among regulators, airlines, and the public.

The total transaction, including Spirit’s existing debt, amounts to approximately $8.3 billion. Boeing’s CEO, Dave Calhoun, emphasized that the acquisition is in the best interests of stakeholders including passengers, airline customers, employees of both companies, shareholders, and the broader national interest.

Spirit AeroSystems manufactures critical components for Boeing aircraft, such as fuselages for the 737 Max, which are then assembled at Boeing’s facilities. While Spirit also supplies parts to Airbus, Boeing remains its largest client. As part of the acquisition, Airbus will acquire Spirit’s operations related to Airbus for a nominal $1, including facilities in North Carolina, France, and the United Kingdom, for which Airbus will receive $559 million as compensation from Spirit.

Boeing’s acquisition of Spirit will involve disentangling its Airbus-related activities. Spirit has faced its own challenges with quality control, prompting Boeing to provide additional payments aimed at improving quality and reliability, crucial for Boeing’s production and reputation.

Recent incidents, such as a 737 Max safety issue involving Spirit’s components, underscore the importance of addressing quality concerns across the supply chain. Boeing has already placed staff in Spirit’s factories to ensure compliance with specifications and has faced regulatory scrutiny and legal challenges related to safety issues.

The acquisition comes amid ongoing efforts by Boeing to settle with the U.S. Justice Department over criminal charges stemming from fatal crashes involving the 737 Max. The deal reflects Boeing’s commitment to resolving its operational and safety challenges, albeit amid market uncertainty reflected in its declining stock value.

In summary, Boeing’s acquisition of Spirit AeroSystems marks a significant strategic move aimed at improving safety, reliability, and overall operational efficiency, crucial for Boeing’s recovery and long-term competitiveness in the aerospace industry.

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Theresa Anyanwu

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