An airman watches as three Delta IV rocket boosters arrive at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, on August 23, 2021.

An airman watches as three Delta IV rocket boosters arrive at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, on August 23, 2021. U.S. Air Force

L3Harris expected to close $4.7B Aerojet Rocketdyne acquisition on Friday

The Federal Trade Commission decided not to block the deal, L3Harris told investors Wednesday.

The Federal Trade Commission will not block L3Harris Technologies’ $4.7 billion acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne, allowing the deal to close as soon as Friday, L3Harris told inventors Wednesday.

“We were advised today that the FTC will not block our acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne; therefore, we are moving forward to close the transaction on or about July 28,” L3Harris CEO Chris Kubasik wrote in a letter to inventors announcing the company’s second quarter financial results.

Finalizing the deal would bring to a close a more-than-two-year saga involving one of the most important suppliers for the U.S. military and NASA.

In recent years, Aerojet has struggled to build quality rocket motors, frustrating the companies it suppliers and military commanders who rely on Aerojet-powered weapons, including Raytheon-made Standard missiles.

Lockheed Martin announced plans to buy Aerojet in December 2020, but the FTC said the deal would give the defense giant a leg up over its competitors. Lockheed chose to walk away from the deal in early 2022 instead of challenging the FTC in court.

Aerojet then became embroiled in a boardroom battle before L3Harris announced it would buy the rocket maker for about $300 million more than Lockheed had offered. From day one, Kubasik argued that L3Harris owning Aerojet would not create a monopoly because the company does not have a missile business like Lockheed or RTX, the company formerly known as Raytheon Technologies.

Despite an FTC that has been aggressive in challenging mergers and acquisitions in recent years, regulators ultimately did not block the deal.

Not all have been in favor of L3Harris buying Aerojet. In a July 9 letter to Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., argued the deal “would threaten competition and national security, increase prices, reduce innovation, and reduce product quality and create production delays for the defense industrial base.”

In June, Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes said he wasn’t thrilled about L3Harris buying Aerojet, but that the deal would likely make it a better supplier. Days later, Lockheed’s COO Frank St. John said his company worried L3Harris would block access to rockets.