WASHINGTON — Northrop Grumman has struck a $3.4 billion deal to sell its federal IT and mission support business to Veritas Capital.
The agreement, announced Dec. 7, is expected to close by June 2021. At that point, Veritas plans to incorporate the Northrop business units with Peraton, a Veritas subsidiary that supports government customers and specializes in technology products for the space, defense and intelligence markets.
Northrop is expected to generate $2.3 billion in revenue, which will be funneled into share repurchases and debt retirement, the company said in a news release.
“This divesture allows us to drive value and reflects our strategy of focus on growing core businesses where technology and innovation are the key differentiators,” said Kathy Warden, Northrop’s CEO and president. “We expect to create compelling value to our shareholders through this transaction and execution of our capital allocation strategy.”
Reports of the sale first surfaced in October.
Byron Callan, an analyst with Capital Alpha Partners, said that the sale shows there is still isn’t consensus within the defense industry on how to organize IT and services businesses alongside more traditional hardware business units for products like aircraft, vehicles or other weapons.
Callan pointed to Lockheed Martin’s sale of its information and global services business to Leidos in 2016; L-3′s sale of its IT solutions division to CACI in 2015; and Harris’ sale of its IT business to Veritas in 2017, which later became Peraton. However, other major companies have acquired government IT companies, such as General Dynamics’s purchase of CSRA in 2018.
“We have believed that as DoD spending flattens in the 2020s, primes could seek to jettison ‘non-core’ businesses that will still be profitable, but face declining sales or more intense competition,” Callan wrote in an email to investors.