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Reasonable Price, Strategy for Northrop Acquisition

With the plan to acquire Orbital ATK for $9.2 billion, we're raising our Northrop fair value estimate.

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Northrop Grumman Corp

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Based on consensus estimates for Orbital ATK, the company will add $4.9 billion to Northrop’s revenue line in 2018 (pro forma full-year basis) and $585 million to operating income. We think management's 2019 EPS accretion target is achievable despite loading in some estimates for intangible amortization and integration costs. Our 2018 pro forma post-deal revenue stands at $31.3 billion with operating income of $4 billion. Northrop expects revenue synergies but didn’t quantify them, and it also expects to achieve a run rate of $150 million in savings by 2020. Acquisition integration costs will approximate $75 million, with the majority of that booked in 2018. We’re modeling what we view as a conservative level of $150 million in cost synergies in 2020.

We think the deal makes strategic sense and bolsters Northrop's position in satellites, launchers, propulsion systems, and missile defense. The Orbital ATK lower technology ammunition and armaments business, as well as aerospace structures doesn’t match perfectly with Northrop’s portfolio, but we don’t see management rushing to divest any of these businesses. Management expects to close the deal in the first half of 2018; we don't see any major blocking points.

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About the Author

Chris Higgins

Senior Equity Analyst
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Chris Higgins, CFA, is a senior equity analyst for Morningstar Research Services LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Morningstar, Inc. He covers aerospace and defense companies, airports, and airlines.

Before joining Morningstar in 2015, Higgins spent eight years working for Airbus Group in both the United States and Europe. While at Airbus Group, he held a variety of positions, ranging from corporate development to investor relations.

Higgins began career in strategy consulting, where he consulted leading U.S. and European aerospace and defense prime contractors. During his time in consulting, he led teams that solved business challenges ranging from merger and acquisition decisions to new product launches.

Higgins holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Rhodes College, where he graduated as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and a master’s degree in finance from The Henley Business School in the United Kingdom. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation.

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