Harris denies rumors of its impending sale

Harris Corp. insists it is not pursuing a merger or a sale. The company issued the denial late Sunday citing recent market rumors and media reports that the Melbourne, Fla., government provider of information technology was up for sale.

However, Harris acknowledged that "from time to time it is approached by other companies with expressions of interest in various types of transactions, including a potential sale of the company."

"The board of directors and I have great confidence in this company, its employees and its future," Howard Lance, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "Harris is uniquely positioned, with access to both government and commercial technologies, to continue to effectively serve the challenging requirements of our growing global assured communications markets."

"We believe our focus on continuing growth through the introduction of industry-leading new products, expansion of addressable markets, development of new capabilities, international expansion and strategic acquisitions will deliver significant value going forward for our customers, shareholders and business partners as we have demonstrated in the past," Lance added.

Harris said it would not make any further statements responding to market rumors or speculation in accordance with its standing policy.

Shares of Harris stock fell 12 percent in early New York trading. Harris declined $8.03 to $57.75 at 7:31 a.m. in trading before the regular open of the New York Stock Exchange Bloomberg News reported. Speculation about a possible sale had driven up the stock price 36 percent between March 31 and May 30.

News reports, citing the Wall Street Journal, said Harris had received preliminary offers valued at about $10 billion ¬or less than the $75 to $85 a share the company expected. General Dynamics Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. were named as potential purchasers.

The company has annual revenue of more than $5 billion and 16,000 employees. Harris ranks No. 13 on Washington Technology's 2008 Top 100 list of the largest federal government prime contractors.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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