Harris Corporation, which employs 1,100 workers in Clifton, and L3 Technologies, Inc., which operates L3 Technologies Systems-East in Camden, have agreed to combine in an all stock merger of equals to create a global defense technology leader.
The combined company, L3 Harris Technologies, Inc., will be the 6th largest defense company in the U.S. and a top 10 defense company globally, with approximately 48,000 employees and customers in over 100 countries. For calendar year 2018, the combined company is expected to generate net revenue of approximately $16 billion, EBIT of $2.4 billion and free cash flow of $1.9 billion.
Harris Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, William M. Brown said, “This transaction extends our position as a premier global defense technology company that unlocks additional growth opportunities and generates value for our customers, employees and shareholders. Combining our complementary franchises and extensive technology portfolios will enable us to accelerate innovation to better serve our customers, deliver significant operating synergies and produce strong free cash flow, which we will deploy to drive shareholder value. Integration planning is already underway, and from our extensive experience with integration, we are confident in our ability to realize $500 million of annual gross cost synergies and $3 billion of free cash flow by year 3.”
L3 Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Christopher E. Kubasik said, “This merger creates greater benefits and growth opportunities than either company could have achieved alone. The companies were on similar growth trajectories and this combination accelerates the journey to becoming a more agile, integrated and innovative non-traditional 6th Prime focused on investing in important, next-generation technologies. L3 Harris Technologies will possess a wealth of technologies and a talented and engaged workforce. By unleashing this potential, we will strengthen our core franchises, expand into new and adjacent markets and enhance our global presence.”
Under the terms of the merger agreement, which was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, L3 shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 1.30 shares of Harris common stock for each share of L3 common stock, consistent with the 60- trading day average exchange ratio of the two companies. Upon completion of the merger, Harris shareholders will own approximately 54 percent and L3 shareholders will own approximately 46 percent of the combined company on a fully diluted basis.
Both L3 and Harris are technology driven organizations with significant R&D investment and a combined workforce of approximately 22,500 engineers and scientists. The combined company plans to accelerate investment in select technologies to expand leadership in key strategic domains including national security. By leveraging a common operating philosophy of continuous improvement and operational excellence, L3 Harris Technologies will continue to drive operating margin improvement.
The combination is expected to generate approximately $500 million of annual gross pre-tax cost synergies, or $300 million net of savings returned to customers, in year 3. The savings will come from reducing direct and indirect spend, rationalizing footprint, consolidating corporate and segment headquarters, establishing a common shared services platform for IT and finance and reducing other overhead costs. The company is expected to invest approximately $450 million cash to achieve the synergies over the next 3 years.
On a calendar year 2018 basis, L3 Harris Technologies is expected to have approximately $16 billion of revenue, $2.4 billion of EBIT, and $1.9 billion of free cash flow. The combined company will target $3 billion in free cash flow by year 3, driven by organic growth, cost synergies, working capital improvements and capital expenditure efficiencies. L3 Harris Technologies will be well capitalized with a strong balance sheet and a leverage ratio of 2.2x net debt to trailing twelve months EBITDA. The combined company will remain committed to maintaining an investment grade credit rating and a dividend payout consistent with each company’s current practice and deploying excess cash toward share repurchases, including up to $2 billion in share repurchases in the 12 months post-closing.
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