Orbital ATK

Company Renamed Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems


For those of us in the federal market, news of mergers & acquisitions are steadily becoming the norm.  Throughout all mergers, senior leadership faces new challenges to make sure that customers are well informed and satisfied, prospective business partners are clear on roles and responsibilities and the culture and employees of the new combined company are all moving the right direction.

In the news this month, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission cleared Northrop Grumman’s purchase of defense and space contractor Orbital ATK, thereby making Orbital ATK Northrop Grumman’s fourth business sector, named Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems. First announced on September 18, 2017, to make this purchase, Northrop Grumman paid $7.8 billion in cash and assumed $1.4 billion in debt.

Northrop Grumman Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Wes Bush, said of this recent acquisition, “We welcome Orbital ATK’s talented employees. We are delighted to have them join the Northrop Grumman team, and we are very excited about the value creation our combination represents for our customers, shareholders and employees. Together, through our leading technologies and innovation-focused culture, we look forward to developing enhanced mission capabilities and more competitive offerings in critical global security domains.”

To lead this new sector, Northrop Grumman’s board of directors elected Blake Larson as corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems. Larson previously served as the chief operating officer of Orbital ATK.

Read more about the merger in Northrop Grumman’s press release.

To learn about how research can provide key insights and inform your strategy prior to a merger and/or acquisition, visit our Mergers & Acquisitions Research page.

Northrop Grumman is looking up, both figuratively and literally, in 2017 as they announced their plans to acquire rocket and satellite company Orbital ATK for $9.2 billion. Certainly Northrop Grumman looks forward to continued corporate growth, but Wes Bush, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Northrop Grumman also sees the value to the customer increasing with this merger, stating in the corporate announcement, “Through our combination, customers will benefit from expanded capabilities, accelerated innovation and greater competition in critical global security domains.”

Through the years, Market Connections has supported Northrop Grumman’s efforts by helping the company stay abreast of the perceptions and needs of the customer with custom market research. Keeping a finger on the pulse of the marketplace allows companies to fully understand customer needs and market perceptions.

During this pivotal period, perceptions can be reality and it is important that Northrop Grumman, and similar players in the federal government market, ensure that the message they communicate, the products and services they develop, and the personnel on the ground (and in the sky) meet the expectations of their end customer. While bigger can mean better, managing the customer experience during the transition will be the key to the success of this acquisition. If done well, the sky is the limit.

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