U.S. Senator Warren urges FTC to stop L3Harris deal to buy Aerojet

The logo of L3Harris is displayed on a screen on the floor of the NYSE in New York

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has expressed concern about a broad range of corporate consolidation, wrote to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to urge it to oppose U.S. defense contractor L3Harris Technologies’ deal to buy Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc, her office said.

L3Harris had announced the planned acquisition in mid-December, saying it would buy Aerojet for $4.7 billion in cash as it looks to tap into rising demand for missiles amid the Ukraine conflict. It has said that it expects to complete the deal this year.

Warren said the deal was the latest buy in decades of consolidation among defense contractors. She had also opposed Lockheed Martin Corp’s purchase of Aerojet, a deal that was abandoned after the Federal Trade Commission moved to to block it in late-January on the grounds that it would allow Lockheed to use its control of Aerojet to hurt other defense contractors.

Warren said in her letter dated Jan. 26 “This deal between Aerojet and L3Harris would reduce competition in the shrinking defense industry to a new low, and I encourage the FTC to oppose this dangerous transaction.”

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The letter was addressed to FTC Chair Lina Khan and Commissioners Alvaro Bedoya and Rebecca Slaughter. All are Democrats.

Rocket motors like those made by Aerojet are used in everything from the homeland defensive missile system to Stinger missiles.

Aerojet develops and manufactures liquid and solid rocket propulsion, air-breathing hypersonic engines and electric power and propulsion for space, defense, civil and commercial applications. Its customers include the Pentagon, NASA, Boeing BA.N, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and the United Launch Alliance.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz additional reporting by Mike Stone in Washington, DC; Editing by Mark Porter and Angus MacSwan)