The following announcement was just released regarding Harris and L3 Technologies' agreement to a transformational merger of equals in what they describe as 'the largest merger in defense history'.
Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) and L3 Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:LLL) have agreed to combine in an all stock merger of equals to create a global defense technology leader, focused on developing differentiated and mission critical solutions for customers around the world. 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.
The combined company, L3 Harris Technologies, Inc., will be the sixth 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 three.”
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 sixth 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.”
Strategic Benefits of the Merger
Increased scale with a well-balanced portfolio of complementary franchises: The combined portfolio brings depth and balance of relationships across a wide range of customers, in both the U.S. and international markets. Increased scale will enable the combined company to be more cost competitive, expand capabilities to provide end-to-end solutions across multiple domains of air, sea, land, space and cyber, enhance leadership in RF and spectrum technologies and establish a leading platform-agnostic supplier and integrator.
Shared culture of innovation and operating philosophy creates stronger platform to drive growth: 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.
Meaningful value creation opportunity: 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 three years.
Strong balance sheet with significant cash flow generation: 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.
Governance and Leadership
L3 Harris Technologies will be headquartered in Melbourne, Florida and led by a highly experienced and proven leadership team that reflects the strengths and capabilities of both companies and will share equally in the integration process.
The combined company’s Board of Directors will have 12 members, consisting of six directors from each company. William M. Brown will serve as chairman and chief executive officer, and Christopher E. Kubasik will serve as vice chairman, president and chief operating officer for the first two years following the closing of the transaction. For the third year, Mr. Brown will transition to executive chairman and Mr. Kubasik to chief executive officer, after which Mr. Kubasik will become chairman and chief executive officer.
Additional senior leadership positions for L3 Harris Technologies will be determined at a later date.
Timing and Approvals
The merger is expected to close in mid-calendar year 2019, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals and approval by the shareholders of each company.
Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC is acting as financial advisor to Harris and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is serving as principal legal counsel, with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP as special counsel to the board of directors. Goldman Sachs is acting as financial advisor to L3 and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is serving as legal counsel.
In separate news releases, Harris and L3 Technologies both reported financial results for the quarter ended September 28, 2018.
Joint Conference Call and Webcast Details
Harris Corporation and L3 Technologies will conduct a live conference call and webcast on October 15, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. (ET). The webcast of the conference call, along with related slides, will be accessible through Harris’ and L3’s websites as well as through the joint transaction website at www.l3harris.mergerannouncement.com.