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Report: Lockheed in advanced talks on $8 billion Sikorsky deal

Sikorsky produces the Blackhawk UH-60 helicopter. United Technologies is considering a sale or spinoff of the helicopter maker.
Sikorsky produces the Blackhawk UH-60 helicopter. United Technologies is considering a sale or spinoff of the helicopter maker. AP

Lockheed Martin is in advanced talks to acquire the Sikorsky helicopter manufacturing business from United Technologies Corp., The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

A deal valued at more than $8 billion could be reached in the coming days, the Journal said citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. But the discussions could still fall apart, according to the newspaper.

United Technologies said in March that it planned to sell or spin off the maker of Black Hawk helicopters, which the company has owned for almost 90 years. Chief Executive Officer Gregory Hayes said last month that a decision on a sale versus a spinoff could come as soon as the end of July.

United Technologies, based in Hartford, Connecticut, is unloading Sikorsky to focus on manufacturing divisions spanning jet engines, elevators and air conditioners.

Spokesmen for both United Technologies and Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin declined to comment.

Earlier this week, Lockheed and Textron, the owner of Fort Worth-based Bell Helicopter, were identified as finalists to buy Sikorsky in a report by the Reuters news service, which cited unidentified people familiar with the matter. Reuters said that Textron was talking with private-equity firms to help with its bid.

Acquiring Sikorsky would be significant for Lockheed Martin, which has its aeronautics unit based in west Fort Worth. Lockheed does not produce a helicopter but has teamed with both Sikorsky and Bell on projects. Lockheed employs more than 13,000 people in west Fort Worth, including about 8,800 on the F-35 fighter jet program.

Bell has trimmed jobs over the past couple of years because of a slowdown in commercial helicopter orders and reduced production of its V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. In April, the company announced plans to cut 1,100 jobs — more than 12 percent of its workforce — including up to 700 in Texas.

Bell has about 4,600 employees in Fort Worth, mostly at its east Fort Worth campus, which has been undergoing renovations. It also has about 800 workers in Amarillo.

The Journal said a purchase of Sikorsky would be Lockheed’s largest acquisition since it bought Martin Marietta Corp. for roughly $10 billion some 20 years ago.

This article includes material from Star-Telegram archives.

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