Litton Industries was a large defense contractor in the United States named after inventor Charles Litton Sr.

Litton Industries
FateAcquired by Northrop Grumman
SuccessorNorthrop Grumman
HeadquartersBeverly Hills, California, U.S.

During the 1960s, the company began acquiring many unrelated firms and became one of the largest conglomerates in the United States. At its peak, in addition to many defense-related companies, it also owned both Royal Typewriters and Adler, Moffat major appliances, Stouffer's frozen foods, and various office equipment and furniture companies.

Like many conglomerates, the company suffered significant declines in the 1970s, selling off many of its unrelated brands and had largely returned to its defense roots by the 1980s. The company continued to shrink after the ending of the Cold War and by the late 1990s was a corporate takeover target. The company was purchased by Northrop Grumman in 2001.

History edit

Litton Industries was originally established as an electronics company building navigation, communications and electronic warfare equipment. They diversified and became a much bigger business, with major shipyards, and manufacturing microwave ovens.[1]

It was founded in 1953 by American business executive Charles Bates "Tex" Thornton alongside his associates Roy Ash and Hugh Jamieson.[2] Headquartered in Beverly Hills, California, the original name of the company was 'Electro Dynamics Corporation.'[1] In 1954, with a loan from the Lehman Brothers, Thornton acquired the vacuum tube producer 'Litton Industries Inc' from its founder Charles Litton Sr. for $1.5 million[2] and subsequently adopted its name.[1]

Although Litton Industries lacked capital in the beginning, Thornton thought that the U.S. Department of Defense would need more sophisticated weapons and that the demand for another large electronics company would increase. During the years, Litton Industries acquired several other smaller companies and had merged with Monroe Calculating Machine. Monroe used Litton's technological assets and Litton required Monroe's sales and service outlets. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, 50% of Litton's business was with the U.S. Government; besides calculators, they were also producing inertial guidance systems for aircraft, potentiometers, duplexers, etc.[2]

In 1961, Litton acquired Ingalls Shipbuilding for $8 million[3] and subsequently ventured into the production of submarines and oil-drilling equipment.[2] By 1963, Litton Industries reached $500 million[2] with a revenue of $393.8 million.[4]

In December 1964, Litton acquired Royal McBee.

In 1969, the company acquired Triumph-Adler, a major typewriter manufacturer based in Germany and the sixth-largest European office equipment manufacturer at the time.[5]

In 1973, after several years of disappointing sales, Thornton replaced Ash with Fred O'Green as president of the company. With the new strategy, Litton sold some of its profit-losing subsidiaries and focused on the profitable ones. The company also succeeded to make a $1.6 billion deal with the Saudi Arabian Air Force.

The profits of the company increased from $44 million in 1979 to $78 million in 1983.[2]

During the 1980s, Litton dropped its businesses in publishing, medical products, office furniture, and microwaves and shifted the production to sophisticated technology. As a result of that, the company bought the electronic firms Itek Corp. and Core Laboratories. In the early 1990s, Litton Industries split into separate military and commercial companies. The US$2 billion commercial business, which included Litton's oilfield services, business, and automated assembly line operations, was named Western Atlas, Inc.[2]

In 1998, Litton Industries bought TASC, Inc.[6] In 2000, TASC sold three stand-alone commercial operations: Adesso Software, WSI (Weather Services International) Corporation[7] and Emerge. The company reported sales of $5.6 billion and a net income of $218 million for the 2000 fiscal year. On December 21, 2000, in a joint statement, Litton Industries and Northrop Grumman announced that the latter will acquire Litton Industries shares in a transaction worth $5.1 billion.[8] The transaction was completed on May 31, 2001 and Northrop Grumman officially acquired Litton Industries.[9]

Divisions edit

A provisional list of Litton Industries' major divisions:

  • LITEF GmbH (Freiburg, Germany)[10]
  • Litton Advanced Systems[11]
  • Litton Aero Products[12]
  • Litton Automated Marine Systems (AMS)[13]
    • Sperry Marine
    • C.Plath
    • Load monitoring System for Spanish Product Carriers (IMP-16 based embedded system w/real-time monitoring and calculation of shear forces and bending moment for load officers)
    • Decca Radar (formerly a division of Racal)
      • Decca Navigator, a historical VLF navigation system
  • Litton Bionetics, Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD[14]
  • Litton Computer Services[15]
  • Litton Data Systems[16]
  • Litton Electron Devices → now L3 Technologies, Electron Devices: Torrance CA & Williamsport PA[17]
  • Litton Electro-Optical Systems Incorporated
  • Litton Encoder[18]
  • Litton Guidance and Control Systems[19]
  • Litton Industries, Potentiometer Division, Mount Vernon, NY[20]
  • Litton Integrated Systems[11]
  • Litton Italia[21]
  • Litton Kester[22]
  • Litton Network Access Systems[23]
  • Litton PRC[24]
  • Litton Ship Systems[25]
  • Litton Space Systems
  • Litton Systems Canada[26]
  • Litton Westrex[27]
  • TELDIX[21]
  • Western Atlas, a joint venture formed with Dresser Industries, including former Litton subsidiary Western Geophysical. Spun off in 1994.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "Litton Industries Inc". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "History of Litton Industries, Inc". Funding Universe. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  3. ^ United States Congress House Committee on Science and Astronautics (1962). Mergers and Superconcentration: Acquisitions of 500 Largest Industrial and 50 Largest Merchandising Firms. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  4. ^ "Fortune 500: Litton Industries". Fortune. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  5. ^ Staff writer (2 April 1975). "Litton Wins Reversal of FTC Order to Shed Unit in West Germany". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company.
  6. ^ "Litton Acquires Information Company". Los Angeles Times. April 7, 1998. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  7. ^ "Weather Channel Owner Buying WSI from Litton". Aviation Week & Space Technology. February 14, 2000. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  8. ^ "Northrop Grumman to acquire Litton Industries for $80 per share cash". Sperry Marine Northrop Grumman. May 3, 2020. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  9. ^ "Northrop Grumman Announces Completion of Merger with Litton Industries Inc". Northrop Grumman. May 31, 2001. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  10. ^ "General Terms and Conditions of Purchase" (PDF). Northrop Grumman. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Litton Industries - Archived 4/2002". Forecast International. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  12. ^ "Litton Aero Products Division in Moorpark". Los Angeles Times. January 1991. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  13. ^ Commerce Business Daily. 2000. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  14. ^ Schmeck Jr, Harold M (June 25, 1972). "Litton to Run Cancer Research Lab". The New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  15. ^ "Litton Systems, Inc., Litton Computer Services Division,plaintiff-appellant, v. the United States, Defendant-appellee, 36 F.3d 1111 (Fed. Cir. 1994)". Justia. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  16. ^ "Litton Data Systems - Company Profile and News". Bloomberg News. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  17. ^ "About Us". L3Harris. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  18. ^ "Litton Encoders". Encoders UK. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  19. ^ "Litton Systemc Inc. Guidance & Control Systems". Los Angeles Times. 24 May 1994. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  20. ^ "Litton Industries Potentiometer Div". Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  21. ^ a b "Northrop Grumman Appoints Allison to Lead Newly-Formed Navigation Systems Division". Northrop Grumman. July 20, 2001. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  22. ^ "Kester Solder Co Division Of Litton Industries, Newark, NJ". Cylex US. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  23. ^ "Litton Changes Name of FiberCom Division". Los Angeles Times. May 26, 1998. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  24. ^ Shaki Trimble, Paula (December 5, 2000). "Litton PRC divided in reorganization". The Business of Federal Technology. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  25. ^ "Litton to Complete Avondale Purchase For $529 Million". The New York Times. August 2, 1999. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  26. ^ Chinnock, Chris (February 1, 1998). "And then there were two: Litton Systems Canada closes display fab". Military & Aerospace Electronics. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  27. ^ "Litton Adds Japanese Solder Company to Stable". Los Angeles Times. April 6, 1999. Retrieved May 6, 2020.

Further reading edit

  • Robert Sobel The Money Manias: The Eras of Great Speculation in America, 1770–1970 (1973) reprinted (2000).

External links edit