Rockwell Collins Being Sold; Future Location of Headquarters Unknown

Sep 5, 2017

Cedar Rapids' largest employer—avionics manufacturer Rockwell Collins—is being sold in what's being called the biggest deal in aerospace manufacturing history.

Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp. (UTC) is buying Rockwell Collins for $30 billion. They will form a new company called Collins Aerospace Systems.

United Technologies CEO Greg Hayes says the combination will allow for more innovation and lower costs.

"I think bringing these companies together will add a lot of value, not just to our customers but to all the stakeholders—our employees and our communities across the globe," Hayes says.

Hayes says it will take nine months to a year to close the deal.

Rockwell Collins is headquartered in Cedar Rapids. A statement from the company says a decision has not been made on a headquarters location for the new, combined Collins Aerospace Systems. 

Rockwell Collins says the acquisition is "expected to have minimal impact on the company’s overall presence in Iowa." The company employs more than 9,000 Iowans. About 8,000 are in Cedar Rapids.

According to the statement, any job changes will likely be related to Rockwell Collins no longer being a public company.

Rockwell Collins CEO Kelly Ortberg says the timing is "perfect" for the companies to come together.

"With our software and connected aircraft capabilities and the broad UTC portfolio we see great opportunities to deliver more value to the customers for next-generation aircraft," Ortberg says.  

Ortberg will be the CEO of the new, combined company.

The existing company began in 1933 with Art Collins first building AM radio equipment, later becoming the focal point for deep-space communications. Financial troubles in 1973 forced Collins to link with Rockwell.