December 6, 2017 / 11:52 PM / in a year

Northrop gets second request from U.S. antitrust officials on Orbital deal

FILE PHOTO - A UAV helicopter build by Northrop Gruman is on deck aboard the soon to be commissioned littoral combat ship USS Coronado during a media tour in Coronado, California April 3, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

(Reuters) - U.S. defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N) said on Wednesday it received a second request from U.S. antitrust regulators for more information about its deal to buy Orbital ATK Inc OA.N.

A second request from the Federal Trade Commission is often a burden for companies that have to provide extensive information that can drain time and resources to collect. Such requests have in the past led to concessions so a merger gains government approval.

The $7.8 billion merger with Orbital, a missile and rocket maker, is still expected to close in the first half of 2018, Northrop said in a statement.

Northrop’s deal to buy Orbital will give it greater access to lucrative government contracts and expand its arsenal of missile defense systems and space rockets.

The all-cash transaction is the biggest in the defense sector in two years and comes as North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons threats grow, heightening tensions with the United States and its allies.

Reporting by Chris SandersEditing by Sandra Maler

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