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Lockheed Scraps $4.4B Deal to Buy Aerojet

Lockheed Martin Corp called off plans on Sunday to acquire rocket engine maker Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc for $4.4 billion amid opposition from U.S. antitrust enforcers. The Federal Trade Commission sued to block the deal in late January because it would allow Lockheed to use its control of Aerojet to hurt other defense contractors.

Missile maker Raytheon Technologies was an outspoken opponent of the proposed acquisition. The merger drew criticism as it would give Lockheed a dominant position over solid-fuel rocket motors — a vital piece of the U.S. missile industry.

Lockheed Chief Executive James Taiclet said the acquisition would have improved efficiency speed and cut costs for the U.S. government. However, terminating the agreement was in its stakeholders’ best interest. Aerojet reported fourth-quarter earnings later this week and said in a separate statement that it still expects a strong “future performance” despite the scrapped merger.

Lockheed previously said it would not pay a termination fee if the deal failed because of opposition from antitrust enforcers. If the agreement had ended up in court, it would have been the first litigated defense merger challenge in decades. had said it accounted for 33% of Aerojet’s sales and argued that the deal would reduce costs for the Pentagon and the U.S. taxpayer. Rocket motors like those made by Aerojet are used in everything from the homeland defensive missile system to Stinger missiles.

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