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United Technologies Moves a Step Closer to Rockwell Merger

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United Technologies Corporation (UTX - Free Report) recently moved a step closer to completing the acquisition of Iowa-based avionics firm, Rockwell Collins, Inc. . The strategic transaction, expected to close by the third quarter of 2018, will likely create an industry behemoth with an unrivalled competitive advantage.

Shareholder Approval

Yesterday, Rockwell Collins announced that more than 96% of the total votes casted for seeking the approval for the transaction, representing above 72% shareholders, voted in favor of the merger. Both the companies are presently awaiting other regulatory approvals and the fulfillment of other mandatory closing conditions.

The Merger

In September last year, United Technologies inked a definitive agreement to acquire Rockwell Collins for $140 per share in a combination of cash and stock. Under the terms of the agreement, each Rockwell Collins shareholder is entitled to receive $93.33 per share in cash and the balance amount or $46.67 in United Technologies’ shares. This equates to a purchase price of $30 billion, including Rockwell Collins' net debt. United Technologies funded the transaction through secondary debt offering and available cash while maintaining solid investment grade credit ratings.

Post completion, Rockwell Collins and United Technologies’ UTC Aerospace Systems division will be integrated to create a new business unit called Collins Aerospace Systems.

Probable Benefits

The acquisition is expected to offer United Technologies a bigger clout in the industry and increase its bargaining power as it would emerge as one of the largest aircraft equipment manufacturers. The combined company would be better suited to meet the evolving global customer needs.

With complementary products, the combination is likely to yield operating synergies through lower operating costs and more opportunities to cross sell the products. United Technologies expects the merger to be accretive to adjusted earnings per share after the first full year of combined operations with synergies to the tune of more than $500 million.

United Technologies has outperformed the industry in the last three months with an average return of 13.6% compared with a gain of 1.8% for the latter.

Moving Forward

With a bigger product portfolio, the company is likely to become an even more critical supplier of components to big aircraft manufacturers like The Boeing Company (BA - Free Report) and Airbus SE (EADSY - Free Report) . The consolidation of two industry heavyweights could further set off a wave of similar such deals across the defense industry.

The acquisition is expected to boost United Technologies’ aerospace segment that has been struggling of late with severe delays in for supply orders in the Pratt & Whitney division. We remain bullish on the inherent growth potential of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock post the transaction. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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