Business & Real Estate

Aerojet bids $2 billion for Lockheed-Boeing division

Aerojet Rocketdyne, the Sacramento area rocket-engine manufacturer, has made a $2 billion offer to buy a Lockheed-Boeing joint venture that launches rockets for the Defense Department, NASA and other government agencies.

Aerojet’s $2 billion offer for Colorado-based United Launch Alliance, or ULA, was first reported by The Wall Street Journal and Reuters. A source familiar with the discussions confirmed to The Sacramento Bee, “There’s a $2 billion offer out there. Lockheed and Boeing are looking at that offer.”

However, a spokesman for Rancho Cordova-based Aerojet, Glenn Mahone, said the company would have no comment.

The deal would be Aerojet’s first big deal since the 2013 purchase of Pratt & Whitney’s Rocketdyne subsidiary, which cost $550 million.

According to Reuters, Aerojet board member Warren Lichtenstein approached senior executives with ULA, Boeing and Lockheed about a takeover last month. Aerojet is already a supplier of engines used in ULA rocket launches.

Aerojet has undergone considerable upheaval in recent months. In early June, the company named a new president and chief executive, Eileen Drake, who had joined the company just three months earlier. Aerojet has also embarked on a cost-cutting program that is expected to eliminate about 16 percent of the company’s workforce in Rancho Cordova over the next four years.

The company’s shares closed Tuesday at $20.71, up 53 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler