Justice Department Requires UTC to Divest Two Aerospace Businesses to Proceed With Acquisition of Rockwell Collins

The Department of Justice announced today that it will require United Technologies Corporation (UTC) to divest two businesses critical to the safe operation of aircraft to proceed with its acquisition of Rockwell Collins.  First, UTC will divest Rockwell Collins’s pneumatic ice protection systems business.  Pneumatic ice protection systems remove ice from the wing of an aircraft by means of an inflatable rubber de-icing boot.  Second, UTC will divest Rockwell Collins’s trimmable horizontal stabilizer actuators (THSAs) business.  THSAs ensure that an aircraft maintains altitude during flight by adjusting the angle of the horizontal tail surface. 

“Today’s remedy ensures that customers continue to benefit from competition in the supply of these two aircraft components that are critical to safety,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Antitrust Division.  “The remedy allows the divestiture buyers to compete vigorously to provide high quality systems and service to customers.”

The Department’s Antitrust Division today filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to enjoin the proposed acquisition, along with a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the competitive concerns alleged in the lawsuit.

The Department said that, without the divestitures, the proposed acquisition would lessen competition substantially in the market for ice protection systems, by combining two of the world’s three suppliers of pneumatic ice protection systems, and in the market for THSAs, by combining two of the world’s leading producers of THSAs. 

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, UTC must divest Rockwell Collins’s ice protection systems business to an acquirer approved by the United States.  UTC also must divest Rockwell Collins’s THSA business to Safran S.A., an established aerospace supplier, or an alternate acquirer approved by the United States. 

The Antitrust Division, the European Commission, and the Competition Bureau of Canada cooperated closely throughout the course of their respective investigations.

UTC is incorporated in Delaware and has its headquarters in Farmington, Connecticut.  UTC produces a wide range of products for the aerospace industry and other industries.  In 2017, UTC had revenues of approximately $59.8 billion.

Rockwell Collins is incorporated in Delaware and is headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Rockwell Collins is a major provider of aerospace and defense electronics systems.  In 2017, Rockwell Collins had revenues of approximately $6.8 billion.

As required by the Tunney Act, the proposed settlement, along with a competitive impact statement, will be published in the Federal Register.  Any person may submit written comments concerning the proposed settlement during a 60-day comment period to Maribeth Petrizzi, Chief, Defense, Industrials, and Aerospace Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 8700, Washington, D.C. 20530.  At the conclusion of the 60-day comment period, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia may enter the final judgment upon finding it is in the public interest.

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Author: October 1, 2018

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