By Ed Hammond, Richard Clough, Julie Johnsson and Dinesh Nair
United Technologies Corp. agreed to buy Rockwell Collins Inc. for about $23 billion, creating an aerospace behemoth that can outfit warplanes and jetliners from tip to tail.
Rockwell Collins shareholders will receive $140 a share in cash and stock, the companies said in a statement Monday. Including net debt, the total deal value is about $30 billion.
The transaction, one of the biggest in aviation history, creates an aircraft-parts giant better positioned to withstand the squeeze from planemakers Boeing Co. and Airbus SE for pricing discounts and higher output. The combined company will boast a broad suite of products for commercial aircraft, from Rockwell Collins’s touchscreen cockpit displays to jet engines made by the Pratt & Whitney division of United Technologies.
The price of $140 a share represents an 18 percent premium to Rockwell Collins’s closing level on Aug. 4, before Bloomberg News reported on the deal talks. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based company closed at $130.61 on Sept. 1.
United Technologies said it will combine its aerospace business with Rockwell Collins in a new unit named Collins Aerospace Systems.
Rockwell Collins Chief Executive Officer Kelly Ortberg will head the division, while Dave Gitlin, who currently runs UTC Aerospace Systems, will serve as president and chief operating officer.
The transaction tops United Technologies’ own $18 billion purchase of Goodrich Corp. in 2012. Billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. completed the biggest aerospace acquisition last year when it bought Precision Castparts Corp. for $37 billion, including debt.
In the latest deal, United Technologies is increasing its bet on aerospace, where it has stumbled recently with the rocky rollout of a new jet engine that cost $10 billion to develop. The market accounts for about half of sales at the Farmington, Connecticut-based manufacturer, with the rest coming from elevators, air conditioners and other building systems.
When Chief Executive Officer Greg Hayes took the helm in 2014, he pledged to consider major moves, including deals potentially in excess of $20 billion. The company sold its Sikorsky helicopter business to Lockheed Martin Corp. for $9 billion in 2015. Hayes rejected a merger proposal in early 2016 from Honeywell International Inc., saying he didn’t believe antitrust regulators would have approved the $90 billion tie-up. Honeywell later…