EADS, BAE Systems Drop Mega Merger

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Aerospace giants EADS of France and BAE Systems ( BAESY) of Britain have called off a merger, which would have catapulted the combined company in closer competition with Boeing ( BA).

On Wednesday, officials at the two aerospace giants cut off merger talks citing uncertainty surrounding regulatory approvals within Europe. Today, British government authorities were expected to decide whether they would allow the combination. The companies said that although they had come to agreements on the financial terms of the deal, government approvals were a hurdle too high to climb.

The French, German and Spanish governments all have stakes in EADS, which makes the Airbus aircraft that competes directly against Boeing's commercial fleet of aircraft. The merger was seen as helping both companies add balance to their civil and defense operations.

Were the deal to have gone through, it would have stood as one of the largest mergers of 2012 in a relatively weak year for dealmaking. The merger would have been worth roughly $50 billion, potentially outpacing commodity trader Glencore's acquisition of shares in mining giant Xstrata that it doesn't already own. According to Freeman & Co., the dissolution of EADS and BAE Systems merger may cost investment banks up to $150 million in M&A related fees.

Stumbling blocks to the deal included provisions lobbied by Germany for guaranteed long-term contracts and BAE Systems contracts with the U.S., which might have created conflicts given the direct share stakes that European governments hold in EADS, the NYTimes reports.

"It has become clear that the interests of the parties' government stakeholders cannot be adequately reconciled with each other or with the objectives that BAE Systems and EADS established for the merger," both companies said in a statement on Wednesday.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York