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Bezos eyes ULA

February 23, 2024

By Chris Forrester

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is said to be the frontrunner to buy United Launch Alliance (ULA), the joint-venture giant rocket business backed by Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

ULA wanted up to $4 billion (€3.7bn) for its assets, but reports suggest that the final price might be much nearer $2-2.5 billion. CNBC says that signed agreements could appear in the next few weeks.

Bezos, who also owns the Blue Origin rocket business, is considered to be an enthusiastic buyer while two other potential bidders – private equity company Cerberus, and aviation and defence business Textron – are reportedly no longer interested.

Perhaps coincidentally, Bezos is reported to have sold some $2 billion of his Amazon shares.

The Bezos interest is logical in that his Blue Origin business is building the powerful Vulcan BE-4 rocket engines for ULA and designed to be a more financially attractive solution than the Elon Musk suite of Raptor engines.

The announcement of a sale was made in March last year. ULA was created in 2006 through a merger of Boeing’s Delta rocket division and Lockheed Martin’s Atlas launcher rocket family. Since then, ULA has been a profitable enterprise for the two aerospace giants, helped by regular military launch contracts and large subsidies from the US Department of Defense.

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