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Aerojet Rocketdyne factions express openness to selling company

Aerojet Rocketdyne produces solid propellant rocket motors for Raytheon Technologies' Standard Missile-3 (SM-3). (US Navy)

The two factions vying to gain control of Aerojet Rocketdyne's board of directors say they would explore the possibility of selling the publicly held US propulsion manufacturer.

The slate led by CEO Eileen Drake wrote in a 6 June investor presentation that it would “evaluate all opportunities to maximise shareholder value, including a potential sale of the company”.

The slate led by executive chairman and major shareholder Warren Lichtenstein wrote in a 9 June investor presentation that its board nominees “would conduct an objective review of sale options of the company in whole or in part targeting comparable or greater value than can be achieved on a standalone basis”.

However, during a 10 June investor webcast, former Aerojet Rocketdyne chief operating officer Mark Tucker, who is the Lichtenstein slate's choice to replace Drake as CEO, said he would be in “no rush” to sell the company and wants to prioritise improving its performance, which includes addressing production problems and delivery delays that have recently surfaced. “Our focus is going to be on executing the business so that when those opportunities [to sell the company] present themselves, we get maximum shareholder value,” Tucker said.

In December 2020 Aerojet Rocketdyne agreed to be acquired by Lockheed Martin for USD4.4 billion. Lockheed Martin asserted that bringing the propulsion provider in-house would make designing and building missiles and rockets more efficient. However, Lockheed Martin ended the deal in February 2022 amid opposition from anti-trust regulators, who argued that the combination could reduce competition in the missile market.

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