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Harris, L3 Expect Big Changes On Day 1 After Merger

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PARIS AIR SHOW—A proposed merger between Harris and L3 is still pending approval by authorities, but the teams have begun making plans on spin-offs, real estate and new partnerships, including on classified programs.

One of the first casualties of the merger of the communications and sensing companies will be L3’s headquarters in New York City, which will be consolidated with Harris’ existing facility in Melbourne, Florida.

“We won’t have a presence in New York City much beyond the closing,” said Harris CEO Bill Brown, who is slated to maintain the same position in the combined company.

Several of the company’s business units could also be on the chopping block, as the newly-rebranded L3 Harris attempts to fuse an operating company out of two companies with long histories of existing as holding companies for diverse portfolios of often unrelated businesses.

“Will there be divestitures? That will happen. We’re still working on the shape, the size,” Brown said during a June 18 interview at the Paris Air Show here. “It could be significant, [but] it depends on your definition of that. I’m not really looking at divesting 5% or 10% or 14%. We’re taking a hard look at the portfolio and there’s pieces that don’t work over time, so they need to be spun off or sold.”

The portfolio review is not a two-way street, however. The company is looking to spin off noncore business units, but has no plans in the near term to add new acquisitions to support the combined company’s new areas of focus, Brown said. Notably, Brown added a caveat to that statement, saying the company would continue analyzing the market.

Meanwhile, Harris has a team of 50 managers working on the integration plan ahead of regulatory approval (within proper legal channels), Brown said.

One area they have identified as ripe for exploitation is the broad, although secretive, range of classified programs present in the portfolios of each company. Both L3 and Harris participate extensively in secret communication and sensor programs for the U.S. military and intelligence community.

“What’s different with this one is L-3 has this relatively unique umbrella coverage of classified programs in the DOD,” Brown said.

“The customers can see this,” he added. “There’s been multiple occasions when we’ve had customers say, go back and think about that one again and let us know when you come together and have the solution we really want. Because they can see combinations of things.”

The show is being held June 17-23.

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