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Consolidating the cockpit: Rockwell Collins to buy B/E Aerospace for $6.4 billion

Consolidating the cockpit: Rockwell Collins to buy B/E Aerospace for $6.4 billion
Scott Smith of B/E Aerospace Inc. shows the AeroGuard cockpit security system featuring an anti-ballistic cockpit door in October 2001. (Mark Wilson/ Getty Images)

Aviation communications and electronics supplier Rockwell Collins Inc. will acquire aircraft cabin equipment maker B/E Aerospace Inc. for $6.4 billion, the companies announced Sunday.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Rockwell will also assume $1.9 billion of net debt.

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Under the terms of the deal, shareholders of B/E Aerospace will receive $62 per share — $34.10 per share in cash and $27.90 in shares of Rockwell common stock.

In a statement, Rockwell Collins Chief Executive Kelly Ortberg said the deal would combine Rockwell's expertise in cabin electronics and information management systems with B/E Aerospace's work on cabin products.

B/E Aerospace, based in Wellington, Fla., manufactures aircraft cabin seating, lighting, oxygen systems, water and waste systems and food and beverage preparation equipment.

"We see tremendous opportunity to better serve our commercial aviation, business jet and military customers through broader offerings," Ortberg said.

Both companies have operations in Southern California.

Rockwell Collins has about 850 employees in the region, with the majority in Irvine. B/E Aerospace has about 500 Southern California employees in Anaheim, Westminster and Corona.

The acquisition must still be approved by shareholders from both companies, and get regulatory approval. The cash and stock deal is expected to close in spring of 2017.

After the deal closes, two B/E Aerospace board members will join Rockwell's board.

B/E Aerospace Chief Executive Werner Lieberherr will also be named executive vice president and chief operating officer of Rockwell's new aircraft interior systems section, according to the joint statement from the companies.

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UPDATES:

Oct. 24, 12:15 p.m.: This article was updated with Southern California employment numbers for both companies.

This article was originally published on Oct. 23 at 11:55 a.m.

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