TRW signs pacts with potential suitors

Northrop is attempting hostile takeover

April 27, 2002|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

CLEVELAND - TRW Inc., fighting a $12.2 billion hostile bid from larger defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp., said yesterday that it has signed confidentiality agreements with "several" unnamed parties interested in buying the company.

The agreements give potential suitors access to detailed company information. TRW, in a statement, again urged shareholders to vote against a proposal that would allow Northrop to start buying TRW shares. Shareholders are scheduled to act on the Northrop plan at a meeting scheduled for Friday.

Northrop doesn't have a confidentiality agreement with TRW, Northrop spokesman Randy Belote said. TRW didn't identify those who do. It said Northrop was "invited to participate." Northrop rejected an agreement Monday, calling it restrictive.

The agreements "will be viewed as a strategic move by TRW to win some shareholder support ahead of the [Friday] meeting," said Thomas Burnett, president of Merger Insight, which tracks mergers and acquisitions and is an affiliate of Wall Street Access Inc.

Northrop wants to buy TRW for $6.7 billion and the assumption of about $5.5 billion in debt to expand its military space business and gain a foothold in the U.S. missile-defense program. The Los Angeles-based company is the fourth-largest U.S. defense contractor.

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