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Northrop Grumman acquisition of Orbital ATK would combine $50.4 billion in retirement assets

Northrop Grumman Corp., Falls Church, Va., announced Tuesday that it plans to acquire aerospace and defense technology firm Orbital ATK Inc., creating a company with $50.4 billion in retirement plan assets, a news release said.

Northrop Grumman said it will acquire Orbital ARK for about $7.8 billion in cash and will assume $1.4 billion in net debt. The transaction, which was approved unanimously by both companies' boards of directors, is expected to close in the first half of 2018, according to the news release. Upon closing, Northrop Grumman "plans to establish Orbital ATK as a new, fourth business sector to ensure a strong focus on operating performance and a smooth transition into Northrop Grumman," the release said. The existing three business sectors are aerospace systems, mission systems and technology systems.

The news release did not mention how or whether the companies' retirement plans will be merged.

As of Dec. 31, Northrop Grumman's defined benefit plan assets totaled $24.4 billion, according to the company's most recent 10-K filing, and defined contribution plan assets totaled $21.1 billion, according to the company's most recent 11-K filings.

As of Dec. 31, Orbital ATK's defined benefit plan assets totaled $2.2 billion, according to the company's most recent 10-K filing, and defined contribution plan assets totaled $2.7 billion, according to the company's most recent 11-K filing.

Tim Paynter, Northrop Grumman spokesman, could not be immediately reached to provide further information.