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Northrop Grumman

(NOC) - Get Northrop Grumman Corporation Report

said it will sell the automotive business of



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to Blackstone Group in a deal that values the unit at $4.73 billion.

The agreement, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2003, moves the merger of the defense contractors closer to completion.

Under the terms of the deal, which is conditioned on the closing of the merger, the seller will receive $4.73 billion, comprised of $3.76 billion in cash, $600 million in debt securities and an initial $368 million equity interest (approximately 42% of total equity of $868 million) in TRW Automotive.

Shares of Northrop were recently up 2.7%, or $2.34, at $89.90 on the

New York Stock Exchange