Lockheed and Northrop Continue with Merger Plan

Author:
Publish date:

Lockheed Martin

(LMT) - Get Report

and

Northrop Grumman

(NOC) - Get Report

said they will continue to pursue their $9 billion merger despite the

Justice Department's

objections. The companies said they need to merge to compete more effectively with

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

.

Keith Shugarman, an antitrust attorney for

Goodwin Proctor & Hoar

in Washington, said it was a bit surprising the companies so quickly vowed to fight the government's suit. "I think they are fighting an uphill battle on a steep slope," Shugarman said. "Because it's not just the Justice Department bringing the suit, it's the

Defense Department

, in a way."

If Lockheed and Northrop enter a protracted and nasty court battle over the merger, the companies could anger the government, alienating their major -- if not only -- customer, Shugarman explained. It would be easy for the Defense Department, if it felt it wasn't getting the best deal from the merged company, to shift billions of dollars in contracts to other competitors. "If they force the issue, Lockheed and Northrop could end up winning the battle, but losing the war," he added.

--

Gregg Wirth

In other post-close news (earnings estimates from

First Call

):

Earnings reports and previews

Quantum

(QNTM)

said it expects to report fourth-quarter earnings of "break-even" or "slightly better" -- below the 13-analyst prediction of 25 cents per share and the year-ago 56 cents. While the company's stock closed at 20 1/2, after-hours trading put it at 18.

Cabletron Systems

(CS) - Get Report

reported a fourth-quarter loss of 4 cents per share versus the 20-analyst estimate of breakeven.

Technology Solutions

(TSCC)

reported third-quarter earnings of 21cents per share versus the nine-analyst prediction of 19 cents and the year-ago 15 cents. The company said it expects fourth-quarter earnings to increase by 50% from the year-ago period.

PRI Automation

(PRIA)

said it expects to report second-quarter earnings of a nickel to 7 cents per share, below the nine-analyst prediction of 23 cents. The company said deliveries have been harmed by the semiconductor industry.

Profit at

Goldman Sachs

-- Wall Street's largest private firm and regularly rumored to be going public -- climbed to a record $1.02 billion in its first quarter.

Merix

(MERX)

reported third-quarter earnings of 24 cents per share, up from seven-analyst prediction of 21 cents and the year-ago 18-cent loss.

Walter Industries

(WLT)

reported third-quarter earnings of 14 cents per share, versus the five-analyst estimate of 12 cents and the year-ago 3 cents.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

NewsEdge

(NEWZ)

said it has signed a letter of intent to spin off its

ClariNet Communications

unit to the group's management for an undisclosed amount.

JPE

(JPEI)

said it is putting the entire company up for sale. The company said the turnaround of its Canadian operations would take longer than expected and require additional investment.

Stock actions

GreenMan Technologies

(GMTI)

said its stock price will reflect its previously announced one-for-five reverse split on Tuesday, not Monday as it had said.