Following is the full text of the letter submitted to William P. Fricks, Chairman and CEO of Newport News Shipbuilding, from Kent Kresa Chairman, President and CEO, Northrop Grumman Corporation, regarding the proposed takeover of Newport News Shipbuilding.
Mr. William P. Fricks
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Newport News Shipbuilding Inc.
4101 Washington Avenue
Newport News, VA23607-2770
We were disappointed by your April 25th announcement that Newport News had agreed to be acquired by General Dynamics for cash without exploring alternatives with Northrop Grumman. Moreover, we believe your proposed transaction with General Dynamics raises serious antitrust issues. As the Department of Defense previously noted, over 75% of the total shipyard engineering talent and over 95% of the shipbuilding Navy R&D investment would exist in a combined General Dynamics-Newport News entity. Furthermore, this combination would leave the nation vulnerable to only one nuclear capable submarine and shipbuilder.
While you stated that a nuclear "monopoly" already exists due to your recent history of Navy approved
"teaming" with General Dynamics (your only nuclear capable competitor), we believe, and we believe many already agree, that there is enormous national security value for the United States in maintaining, not eliminating, competition. In short, we believe the General Dynamics-Newport News combination would eliminate competition, endanger national security and be costly both to the Navy and to the American taxpayer.
A business combination between Northrop Grumman and Newport News, on the other hand, should receive regulatory approval, and will be of greater benefit to your stockholders and other constituencies than would your current agreement with General Dynamics. Our Board of Directors has authorized me to advise you that we will match General Dynamics' offer of $67.50 per share
for all the outstanding shares of Common Stock of Newport News, comprised 75% of Northrop Grumman common stock with the remainder in cash. We expect to commence an exchange offer shortly
, subject to customary conditions.
We have great respect for Newport News' management team and expect that it would be well-represented in the senior management ranks of the combined shipbuilding business, including mutually agreed upon possible Board representation. A combination of Newport News and Northrop Grumman would offer a variety of benefits, including significant cost savings to the Navy and the opportunity for Newport News' employees and communities to become part of a larger, more diversified defense company.
Northrop Grumman believes its proposal is superior to the General Dynamics offer for the following reasons:
a) Certainty of Completion. Northrop Grumman can provide Newport News shareholders with greater certainty of completion than the current merger agreement with General Dynamics. As previously mentioned, the General Dynamics combination would create a monopoly for submarines and naval nuclear propulsion. The combination would result in a significant majority of U.S. Navy ship-related revenues and nearly all of the Navy-related shipbuilding R&D in a single company. In contrast, the businesses of Northrop Grumman and Newport News, while not overlapping, do provide opportunities for efficiencies, and the combination of our two companies would preserve the current competitive landscape of the military shipbuilding industry.
b) Superior Overall Value. Our proposal provides Newport News shareholders with the opportunity to retain an equity interest in one of the industry's leading diversified defense electronics, systems integration, information technology and shipbuilding enterprises with significant market capitalization and potential for further appreciation. Our proposal provides Newport News shareholders with the opportunity to elect the consideration of their choice (i.e., cash, Northrop Grumman common stock or a combination of both) and exchange their shares for Northrop Grumman common stock on a tax-free basis, providing superior value to General Dynamics' taxable transaction.
Our company's extensive experience in reviewing acquisition opportunities gives us the ability to conduct an efficient and expeditious due diligence process. We are prepared to move quickly in completing any potential transaction in an effort to meet any reasonable time schedule established by you and are prepared to negotiate a merger agreement consistent with the structure of our proposal on terms substantially similar to your agreement with General Dynamics. As such, your Board of Directors should be aware that, once we have completed due diligence, we will be prepared to enter into negotiations immediately with respect to all aspects of our proposal.
Our offer is a fully financed, cash and stock offer for all Newport News shares. As a company with $15 billion in revenues, an investment grade credit rating, a market capitalization of $8 billion and 80,000 employees, Northrop Grumman clearly has the financial wherewithal to consummate a transaction with Newport News. Accordingly and consistent with the terms of your merger agreement with General Dynamics, we believe the Board of Directors of Newport News has a fiduciary obligation to provide its shareholders with the opportunity to consider and take advantage of our offer. We trust that you will not take any action that would prevent shareholders from having a full opportunity to consider our offer.
We are convinced this transaction is truly a "win-win" opportunity for Newport News shareholders, employees, customers and is in the national interest. Our objective is a transaction that has the full support of you and the Newport News Board of Directors, as well as your employees, shareholders and many loyal customers and suppliers. We believe your Board of Directors will conclude, after considering all the factors and information available, that this offer is a Superior Proposal as defined in your agreement with General Dynamics. Accordingly, we will take the liberty of contacting you shortly to discuss the merits of this offer and arrange for a meeting.
Sincerely, Kent Kresa, Chairman, President and CEO, Northrop Grumman Corporation