On Wednesday afternoon, Axsys Technologies (AXYS) announced that it has put itself up for sale in an auction that has already drawn first-round bids from various defense contract companies.

Axsys said in a public statement that the company's declining stock price has led to an "increasing number of overtures from interested strategic buyers."

Rumors are that one of the major defense contractors, such as Northrop Grumman ( NOC), General Dynamics ( GD), Boeing ( BA), Lockheed Martin ( LMT) or Raytheon ( RTH), will be the ultimate buyer of Axsys.

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