Defense contractor Litton Industries Inc. said Tuesday that its proposed merger with Avondale Industries Inc. has won early approval from federal antitrust regulators, allowing the deal to be put to a vote by Avondale shareholders.
Woodland Hills-based Litton also said it is forming a unit that will encompass all of its shipbuilding operations, including Avondale's operations when the merger is completed. Shareholders of New Orleans-based Avondale are scheduled to vote on the deal at a July 27 meeting.
Avondale designs, builds and overhauls ships for the Navy, the Coast Guard and commercial customers. Litton, which owns Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., makes destroyers and other surface ships.
Litton said the Federal Trade Commission on Friday terminated its review of the proposed merger earlier than expected.
The new Litton unit, to be called Litton Ship Systems, will be headed by Gerald J. St. Pe, president of Ingalls Shipbuilding.
Litton has offered $529 million for Avondale, about $39.50 per share, outbidding Newport News Shipbuilding Inc., which offered $470 million in stock.
Including all the yards, the combined Litton-Avondale company would employ 40,000.
Litton shares fell 25 cents to close at $70.94 on the New York Stock Exchange. Avondale shares were unchanged at $39.25 on Nasdaq.