L3, Harris merger proceeding after Justice Department ruling

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Harris Corp. and L3 Technologies said June 21 that their merger has the regulatory approvals needed to close following a Justice Department decision.

The Justice Department stipulated that Harris Corp. divest its night vision business for the merger to proceed. Harris Corp. and L3 Technologies are the sole suppliers of a critical component used in military grade night vision systems, raising concerns that the combined company would monopolize the technology.

The Justice Department simultaneously filed a civil antitrust lawsuit June 20 to block the merger as originally proposed, and a settlement that would see Harris Corp.’s night vision business separated from the combined company.

Harris announced in April it would sell its night vision business to the U.S. division of Israeli defense and technology company Elbit Systems for $350 million in cash. In a June 21 statement, Harris and L3 reiterated that plan. 

“The merger, as originally structured, would have given the combined company a monopoly over image intensifier tubes, an essential component in night vision devices used by the United States military,” Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, said in a statement. “Today’s settlement will ensure that our armed forces continue to benefit from competition for a mission critical component that soldiers operating in low-light environments rely on every day.”

Harris and L3 supply space technology for numerous commercial and military programs. L3 builds spacecraft sensor payloads, launcher avionics and travelling wave tube amplifiers used in telecommunications satellites. Harris provides unfurlable antennas, hosted payloads, and launched a cubesat in November that could open the floodgates for constellation production, particularly for classified buyers.

Harris on June 21 received an $18 million contract modification to build L- and S-band antennas for the Air Force Satellite Control Network.

Harris and L3 said their approximately $34 billion merger is now set to close June 29. The merger remains on track to close around the time forecasted in October when first announced despite the Justice Department scrutiny. The company will take the name L3Harris Technologies, Inc, and will trade on the New York Stock Exchange as LHX.

Harris CEO Bill Brown said May 1 that he still expects L3Harris Technologies will reach $3 billion in free cash flow in three years.