Blue Origin Nears Acquisition of United Launch Alliance: Game-Changer for Aerospace Industry

2024-02-22 17:30:00

  • Blue Origin would be about to close the deal

  • The two companies made the Vulcan rocket together

February 22, 2024, 18:30

Updated February 22, 2024, 18:35

Jeff Bezos’ next move could forever change the game board of the aerospace industry. His company Blue Origin would be close to buying United Launch Alliance (ULA), the space launch business of the old glories Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

The deal is “almost done.” There were three potential buyers for ULA, but according to Ars TechnicaBlue Origin is very close to closing the agreement and keeping the cake, so a formal announcement is expected within a couple of months.

According to the same source, the two other interested parties They are a private equity firm and a smaller aerospace company that have been left in the background. The price of the acquisition, still a matter of conjecture, could range between 2,000 and 3,000 million dollars.

Bezos sells Amazon shares. One of the most intrusive clues to the movement is Jeff Bezos’ recent sale of Amazon shares. The tycoon sold $4 billion in shares of the company he founded and ran until the end of 2021.

In addition, Bezos made public in a filing to the SEC his intention to sell up to 50 million Amazon shares, valued at about $8,475 million, in the next 12 months. He will benefit from the low tax burden applied to capital by the state of Florida, where he recently moved to be close to his parents… and Blue Origin.

The end of an era: New Space now rules. ULA was created as a joint venture between the giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which dominated space launches in the United States until the emergence of SpaceX.

ULA specializes in government launches, but the price crash caused by SpaceX’s reusable rockets forced it to implement deep internal changes under the leadership of Tory Bruno. Bruno has managed to match his offer with that of Falcon rockets thanks to a new, more modern and cheaper launcher, the Vulcan Centaur, which debuted earlier this year with Blue Origin engines.

The unknown: what will happen to Tory Bruno. The leader of ULA is beloved, charismatic, and has had several run-ins with Elon Musk, a natural enemy of Jeff Bezos. But his role after the hypothetical sale to Blue Origin is unknown.

Blue Origin, founded in 2000, changed its CEO a few months ago. During this time, its new leader, David Limp, has managed to change the company’s image with more transparent communication focused on its progress. Mocked for never having reached orbit, the company has just verticalize its first orbital rocketthe gigantic New Glenn, and expects its maiden flight this year (with a mission to Mars for NASA, no less).

Hold on, Elon Musk, curves are coming. The competition between SpaceX and Blue Origin is more aspirational on the part of Jeff Bezos than a reality. After all, Blue Origin has yet to prove that it can reach orbit and land a giant rocket.

However, ULA’s technology (such as its advances in storing cryogenic fuels in space) gives Blue Origin a boost to compete with SpaceX and its Starship in the numerous missions to the Moon and deep space expected in the years. next years. Not to mention juicy contracts with NASA and the Pentagon, ULA’s main business.

Imagen | Blue Origin, NASA

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