Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has decided to drop a $4.4 billion deal to acquire Aerojet Rocketdyne (NYSE: AJRD) nearly three weeks after the Federal Trade Commission filed an antitrust lawsuit to block the planned merger citing the proposed transaction’s impact on competition.
Jim Taiclet, chairman, president and CEO of Lockheed, said in a statement published Sunday that with the FTC’s moves, the company believes ending the merger agreement would be in the best interest of its stakeholders and will continue to support Aerojet and other defense industrial base suppliers as they work to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Moving forward, we will maintain our focus on the most effective use of capital with the highest return on investment, including our ongoing commitment to return value to shareholders. We remain confident in our company’s strong foundation and growth potential as several exciting projects enter production,” added Taiclet, an inductee into Executive Mosaic’s Wash100 for 2022.
At a conference Thursday, Taiclet hinted that Lockheed might terminate the agreement and would try to avoid vertical integration concerns by exploring “smaller scale” deals.
In December 2020, Lockheed agreed to buy Aerojet for approximately $4.4 billion as part of a push to expand capabilities in the areas of space exploration, hypersonics, integrated air and missile defense and tactical missiles.