[WASHINGTON] Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc has submitted a US$2 billion offer to buy United Launch Alliance (ULA), a 50-50 joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Aerojet Rocketdyne board member Warren Lichtenstein, the chairman and chief executive of Steel Partners, approached ULA President Tory Bruno and senior Lockheed and Boeing executives about the bid in early August, the sources said.
Aerojet Rocketdyne spokesman Glenn Mahone said the company would not comment on any negotiations that it was involved in.
Aerojet Rocketdyne, which makes rocket engines, has expressed interest in adapting its new AR-1 engine for use on ULA's Atlas 5 rocket, replacing the Russian-built RD-180 engine it now uses.
No immediate comment was available from Boeing or Lockheed.
One of the sources said the two companies might welcome the bid, given increased competition from privately held Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, which is likely to cut into ULA's revenues and earnings in coming years.