Talks over a possible £28 billion merger of defence giant BAE Systems with French rival EADS have collapsed, writes Tony Patey.
The move fell apart after BAE said it was clear that interests of government stakeholders - including those in France and Germany - could not be reconciled with each other or with company objectives.
The link-up would have created the world's largest aerospace and defence company with combined sales of £60bn and more than 220,000 staff, with around 52,000 employees in Britain.
Unions had mixed feelings after the news. Jim Moohan, a GMB official in Scotland, said: "There were too many ifs or buts and grey areas which, if the merger had gone ahead, were causing serious concern."
Unite national officer Ian Waddell added: "There was an industrial logic to the merger, but national and political interests proved to be the stumbling block. The UK government now needs to strengthen its golden share."