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Raytheon to sell jet subsidiary

Waltham defense contractor Raytheon Co. early this morning agreed to sell its business jet subsidiary, Raytheon Aircraft Co. of Wichita, Kan., for about $3.3 billion to a new company formed by the Canadian private equity firm Onex Partners and the Goldman Sachs investment bank.

Raytheon said it plans to apply the proceeds from the divestiture, expected to total $2.5 billion after taxes, toward reducing its debt and increasing its stock repurchasing authorization.

The joint venture acquiring Raytheon Aircraft will be called Hawker Beechcraft Corp., reflecting the brand names of its two largest business and regional jet product lines. The new company, which will also include some Raytheon operations in Dallas, Salina, Kan., and Little Rock, Ark., also will build trainer aircraft for the Navy and Air Force, though the bulk of its sales will come from civilian operations.

When the transaction is completed, likely in the first half of next year, the parent Raytheon Co. will be focused more heavily on its defense businesses, which include radars, missiles, and electronic communications systems for US and allied military jets, ships, and land installations.

“The sale of Raytheon Aircraft Co. further demonstrates our commitment to deliver on the company’s strategy of focusing on our core government and defense business and providing the best technology, solutions, and mission support to our global customers,” William H. Swanson, the Raytheon chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

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