Titan puts up 'not for sale' sign

Following the collapse of its $2.2 billion merger agreement with Lockheed Martin Corp. over the weekend, Titan Corp. said it is not looking for another company to acquire it.

"Then, as now, Titan was not ? and is not ? looking to be acquired," said Wil Williams, Titan's vice president of corporate communications.

However, Titan's board would have to consider any acquisition offers from other companies because Titan is a public company, he added.

"Every public company has a fiduciary responsibility to the stockholders to consider any offer that may come," Williams said.

Williams' comments came after some media reports yesterday cited industry analysts who suggested that Lockheed Martin's cancellation of the merger agreement could be a negotiating tactic to drive down further its price for Titan. According to the reports, analysts also proffered the possibility that defense heavy-hitters General Dynamics Corp. of Fall Church, Va., and Northrop Grumman Corp. of Los Angeles might consider bidding for Titan.

"The agreement has been terminated, and it's not our policy to comment on considerations of our strategic decisions," said Thomas Jurkowsky, Lockheed Martin's vice president of media relations. "We didn't want the uncertainty surrounding the transaction to continue indefinitely, so we concluded that the termination of the agreement was in the best interest of our shareholders."

Spokesmen for both General Dynamics Inc. and Northrop Grumman Corp. declined to comment on the prospect of their companies acquiring Titan.

Bethesda. Md.-based Lockheed Martin cancelled its merger agreement with Titan after the San Diego defense technology company failed to meet a June 25 deadline to resolve a bribery probe by the Justice Department. Titan asked Lockheed Martin to extend the deadline, but the company declined, after extending it twice previously as a result of probes by Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Lockheed Martin announced its intention to buy Titan in September 2003.

In a statement issued Saturday, Gene Ray, Titan's chief executive officer, said he was disappointed that the deal collapsed, but that the company would concentrate on providing high quality products and services to its customers in the defense industry.

Titan employs 11,500 workers and had 2003 revenue of $1.8 billion. It is one of the main subcontractors on the government's recently awarded $10 billion U.S. Visit contract for building a system to track the entry and exit of foreign visitors in the United States.

Titan ranks No. 9 on Washington Technology's 2004 Top 100 list of federal prime contractors.

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