l3

L3 Technologies employees approximately 900 people at its Waco plant.

The U.S. Justice Department signed off Thursday on the proposed merger between L3 Technologies, which has a facility in Waco that employs nearly 900 people, including contractors, and Florida-based Harris Corp.

The all-stock deal, valued at $34 billion when it was announced in October, would create the sixth- or seventh-largest defense company in the United States, with potentially $18 billion in annual revenue, the companies said at the time.

The Justice Department required Harris to sell its night vision business as a condition of its approval, according to a Reuters report. L3 and Harris were the only two companies that produced military-grade intensifier tubes, a component of night vision equipment that amplifies visible light, according to Reuters.

“The merger, as originally structured, would have given the combined company a monopoly over image intensifier tubes, an essential component in night vision devices,” Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim told Reuters.

Harris sold its night vision business for $350 million to Elbit Systems, an aerospace and defense company based in Israel, according to a Defense News report earlier this week.

According to Defense News, L3 also sold three of its businesses last year for a total of $540 million: Vertex, an aviation logistics and supply chain management company; Crestview Aerospace, which provides rotary aircraft components; and TCS, an engineering services and logistics company.

“Both of us having divested our services businesses well before this was signed gives us a head start,” L3 CEO Chris Kubasik told Defense News. “If we had our old portfolio and (Harris) had its old portfolio, the first year and a half would’ve been spent getting rid of (those assets). That made this more attractive.”

Stockholders in each company voted in April to approve the merger.

The L3 Technologies plant in Waco announced earlier this month it will take the lead on a new $499 million contract the Department of Defense awarded to upgrade nearly 180 National Guard and Air Force Reserve C-130H aircraft.

“Employment numbers at Waco have been increasing this year, and with recent new hires, our current full-time staffing is in excess of 760 personnel and growing,” L3 spokesman Lance Martin said in a statement after L3 announced the contract. “We are currently employing approximately 100 contractors to address some surge requirements and will continue to add full and part-time personnel as the demand increases with our focus on winning new business.”

Layoffs have plagued the Waco facility in recent years.

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