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UPDATE 1-Germany to buy 25.1% stake in defence supplier Hensoldt

(Releads with confirmation)

BERLIN, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Germany will purchase a 25.1% stake in defence supplier Hensoldt, the defence ministry said on Wednesday, a measure designed to prevent any investor from gaining a dominating influence over the company after its IPO in September.

The Cabinet has approved the acquisition for 450 million euros on Wednesday, the ministry said in a statement.

The purchase was justified by Hensoldt’s importance to Germany’s defence and security, it added.

Reuters had reported on Saturday that the government aimed to purchase a blocking minority in Hensoldt from private equity company KKR.

Sources with knowledge of the matter have said the acquisition was intended to ward off a foreign buyer from taking control of the company, whose high-tech cameras are used in Tornado fighter jets, and which listed its shares in an initial public offering in September.

Hensoldt, a former Airbus unit, also supplies radar systems for Eurofighter jets and periscopes for Leopard tanks. KKR, which bought the company in 2016, retained a stake of more than 60% after the IPO. (Reporting by Sabine Siebold; editing by Thomas Seythal and Alistair Bell)

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