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General Dynamics Makes Military Vehicle Push; Sara Lee Spins 'Dough'

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) --- General Dynamics (GD - Get Report) on Monday said it would buy Force Protection (FRPT - Get Report) for $360 million or $5.52 a share to bolster its Land System divisions that makes military armored vehicles.

Force Protection shares rose more than 30% in early trading to $5.48, while General Dynamics shares were unchanged at $63.45. The takeover represents a more than 35% premium to Force Protection's Friday close but is below its 2011 high of $5.90 reached in January.

Force Protection will add its Buffalo, Cougar and Ocelot vehicles designed to protect soldiers against landmines, hostile fire and IEDs in reconnaissance and urban operations to General Dynamics' Land Systems division, which makes Abrams battle tanks and Stryker infantry combat vehicles.

"Force Protection complements and strategically expands General Dynamics' armored vehicle business, adding new products to the expansive portfolio of combat vehicles that we currently manufacture and support," said Mark C. Roualet, a General Dynamics president, in a press release announcing the deal.

Force Protection's annual revenue has fallen to $656 million in 2010, after reaching levels double that in 2008, while its net income has fallen to $15.2 million from $46.9 million in 2008. In its most recent quarter ended in June, Force Protection lost $15.2 million. The company's shares have fallen since reaching a June 2007 high of $28.40.

General Dynamics Land Systems will add Force Protection to a division that earned $8.9 billion in 2010 and currently employs approximately 8,400 workers to manufacture vehicles designed to meet current and future ground-combat requirements, according to a press release.

General Dynamics said it will begin a tender for Force Protection's outstanding shares and that the deal has been approved by both companies' boards of directors. It expects the purchase to add to 2012 earnings.

Sara Lee (SLE) Monday said it would sell its EuroDough division to private equity firm Sagard for $159 million, continuing plans to sell or spin businesses announced earlier in the year.

France based -EuroDough makes chilled dough that can be made at home into bakery goods and had $184 million in 2011 sales with approximately 430 employees.
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