Boeing buys defense equipment maker Argon for $775 mln

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July 1, 2010 2:36 AM EST

Boeing Co said it has agreed to acquire defense equipment maker Argon ST for $34.50 per share in cash, or about $775 million, expanding its growth strategy in C4ISR, cyber and intelligence markets.

Boeing expects the deal to have an immaterial impact on its earnings. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the third quarter 2010.

The offer represents a premium of about 41 percent to Argon's closing price $24.43 on Tuesday.

"The combined business will offer affordable, network-based capabilities to meet the mission-critical needs of Boeing's domestic and international customers," Boeing said in a statement on Wednesday.

Once acquired, Argon will be a stand-alone subsidiary of Boeing and a new division of Boeing Network & Space Systems, a business within the Boeing Defense, Space & Security operating unit.

Argon makes sensors for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems. The company develops command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) and combat systems to exploit, analyze and deliver information for real-time situational awareness.

The company, which posted revenue of $366 million in 2009, has operating locations in Virginia, California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland and Texas, and has about 1,000 employees.

In January, Argon ST said it is exploring strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company, and hired Stone Key Partners as an adviser.

Shares of Boeing closed Tuesday down 6.33 percent at $63.04.

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