It removes another obstacle for fellow American suitor Parker-Hannifin. The engineering group has made an 800p-a-share bid that values Coventry-based Meggitt at £6.3billion.

Meggitt’s board recommended the offer after Ohio-based Parker said it would be a “responsible steward” for the business, which employs 9,000 staff worldwide, a quarter of them in the UK.

TransDigm, also based in Ohio, had until next Tuesday to make a firm offer or walk away.

Both foreign swoops for Meggitt ‑ which makes parts for the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 fighter jets ‑ have attracted criticism.

Conservative grandee and former Secretary of State for Defence, Lord Heseltine, said he was unconvinced any company could provide “cast-iron guarantees for the future”. 

TransDigm’s chairman, W Nicholas Howley, said: “We have long admired and studied the Meggitt business and believed that a combination between the two companies could provide value to investors of both companies.

“However, based on the quite limited due diligence information that was made available and the resulting uncertainties, TransDigm could not conclude that an offer of 900 pence per Meggitt share would meet our long-standing goals for value creation and investor returns.”

Meggitt insisted it had “engaged on a constructive basis with TransDigm and its advisers in order to facilitate an offer”.

A vote is scheduled for September 21.

Meggitt’s shares dropped sharply yesterday, indicating investors are uncertain whether the Parker-Hannifin deal will go ahead.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is reported to have ordered an investigation into whether the takeover would harm the UK’s national security.

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