Alliant Tech and Orbital Sciences Heading in the Right Direction

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Alliant Technology Inc. (NYSE: ATK) issued a release announcing that the U.S. Department of Justice has unconditionally cleared its proposed merger with Orbital Sciences Corp. (NYSE: ORB). Prior to this, Alliant filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to create its new company, Vista Outdoor Inc. The new company will design, manufacture and market consumer products in the growing outdoor sports and recreation market, and it will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol VSTO.

Vista comes as a spin-off so Alliant and Orbital can merge and focus primarily on aerospace and defense projects. After this spinoff, Alliant also plans a tax-free, all-stock merger between its aerospace and defense groups and Orbital Sciences.

Vista Outdoor will be headquartered in Utah and have a portfolio of more than 30 recognized brands. This new company’s fiscal year (March) 2014 pro forma revenue was $2.3 billion. The company will have approximately 5,800 employees across the United States and internationally. Some of those well-known brands include Federal Premium, Savage Arms, BLACKHAWK!, Uncle Mike’s, Alliant Powder, CCI, Speer, Champion Targets, Gold Tip Arrows, Weaver Optics, Bolle and Serengeti.

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The structure of the oldco versus the newco may seem complicated on the surface, but it was spelled out rather clearly in Orbital’s presentation earlier in the summer. Current Alliant shareholders will own 53.8% of the ownership of the new Orbital ATK. That leaves prior Orbital shareholders with the other 46.2% ownership of the new Orbital ATK. Also, the existing Alliant holders will receive 100% of the new Vista Outdoor shares, but prior Orbital holders only get the Orbital ATK shares.

Currently the market cap of Alliant is around $3.5 billion, and that compares the Orbital’s market cap of roughly $1.5 billion. The transaction is expected to be completed in February 2015.

Shares of Orbital were up about 1.2% at $25.77 in the noon hour. Potentially this can be attributable to the successful launch and splash down of the unmanned Orion capsule built jointly by Lockheed and Boeing. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $32.25 and a 52-week trading range of $22.37 to $34.16.

Shares of Alliant were barely up at $110.40. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $133.56 and a 52-week trading range of $107.33 to $158.13. This may have been an overhang that has weighed on Alliant Tech shares, that and the gun trade hurting, as it is the largest manufacturer of bullets.

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