By Dana Mattioli, Joann S. Lublin and David Benoit
The Wall Street Journal
United Technologies Corp. is nearing a deal to buy Rockwell Collins Inc. for more than $20 billion, a tie-up that would create one of the world’s biggest aircraft-equipment makers.
The companies are discussing a per-share price for Rockwell of $140 or less and could come to an agreement as soon as this weekend, according to people familiar with the situation. Rockwell shares closed at $127.99 Monday, giving the company a market value of $20.8 billion.
As with all acquisition talks, it is possible they could hit a snag and not result in a deal, or the expected price could change.
The deal would boost United Technologies’ business supplying Boeing Co. and Airbus SE as the aerospace industry ramps up for a new generation of jets. The company already owns one of the world’s biggest jet-engine makers, Pratt & Whitney, part of an aerospace division that also makes parts such as wheels and landing gear.
Rockwell specializes in cockpit displays and communications systems for passenger jets and military programs. In April, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, company closed its roughly $6 billion acquisition of B/E Aerospace Inc., a maker of plane seats and interiors.
Since word of the talks surfaced this month, several analysts have said they don’t expect significant antitrust issues given United Technologies and Rockwell make different airplane parts. But airplane manufacturers might voice concerns about any consolidation among their suppliers. Boeing and Airbus have also been nudging their way into aftermarket business to capture some of the profit from selling and servicing parts—putting them on a collision course with suppliers.
The possibility of a United Technologies deal for Rockwell caught some analysts by surprise. In June, United Technologies Chief Executive Greg Hayes told analysts the Farmington, Conn., company was looking to spend roughly $1 billion on acquisitions this year. It had about $7 billion in cash.
“As far as bigger M&A, it’s something we always look at, but I am reluctant to go out and pay some of the prices that we see today,” Mr. Hayes said at the Paris Air Show.
United Technologies has a market value of about $92 billion. Last year, the industrial giant, which also makes Carrier climate control systems and Otis elevators, rebuffed unsolicited takeover approaches from Honeywell International Inc.
— Thomas Gryta contributed to this article.
By Shayna Posses
New York — Honeywell International Inc. tried to capitalize on the success of a rival’s online fire and safety inspection tools by hacking into its computer system and stealing its intellectual property, customer list and eventually employees in the process of launching a competing product, according to a suit filed Friday in Georgia federal court.
BuildingReports.com Inc. alleges that Honeywell’s foray into the world of inspection report software and tools was marked by a “pattern of illicit conduct” in its suit accusing the tech giant of worming its way into — and damaging — BRC’s computer system, as well as trying to poach BRC’s customers and employees in the process of creating and launching the eVance Services program.
“This lawsuit arises out of Honeywell’s attempts to mimic BRC’s successful business model and develop this new, competing business line using improper means, including stealing BRC’s intellectual property, hacking into BRC’s computer system without authorization, scraping BRC’s website to obtain BRC’s customer list, damaging BRC’s computer system in the process, and then using the fruits of these labors to solicit BRC’s clients,” the complaint says.
Georgia-based BRC provides a number of online tools that help service providers, building owners, property managers, and fire and safety officials conduct a wide variety of inspections, including checking for compliance with local codes and Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards. These tools help reduce costs and compliance risks, according to BRC.
Among other products, the company offers clients web portals that allow them to log in and access inspection reports and tools. In connection with these offerings, BRC has secured a handful of copyrights on its inspection reports, the complaint asserts.
BRC first learned that Honeywell wanted to develop a competing product in 2011, when multiple people told it that Honeywell executives had approached them at an industry conference to ask what company they used for testing, according to the suit.
By early 2012, Honeywell had started downloading copies of BRC inspection reports from the company’s web portal without its knowledge, using logins Honeywell convinced an employee of one of BRC’s customers to create, the complaint says.
Meanwhile, Honeywell divisions were trying to squeeze information out of BRC more directly, with executives submitting requests for details about several applications through the company’s website, as well as asking for meetings in person, according to the suit.
Honeywell formally introduced its competing web-based inspection system in June 2014, the suit says.
A few months later, BRC launched a member locator function that allowed building owners to look up BRC customer service companies in their area. Within a week, Honeywell was systematically scraping the locator server to nab BRC’s customer list, using a software tool it created to force its way into the system, according to the complaint.
These searches dramatically slowed the server’s ability to service current and potential customers, leading to complaints and requiring a pair of BRC employees to work to mitigate and prevent the infiltration, the suit says.
Using the information it obtained, Honeywell has solicited a number of BRC’s customers, persuading some to move their accounts over, the suit alleges. Honeywell has also actively tried to steal BRC’s workers, including getting BRC specialist Jeff Montoney to jump ship in February, according to the complaint.
Honeywell has repeatedly used, reproduced, distributed and promoted inspection reports that are very similar to, if not clearly derived from, BRC’s copyrighted reports, to the point that customers have asked whether the companies are partners, the suit says.
BRC brings a number of claims against the company, including copyright infringement and tortious interference with employee relationships, as well as violations of Georgia’s Trade Secrets Act and Computer Systems Protection Act.
BRC seeks injunctive relief; compensatory, statutory and punitive damages; unlawful gains and profits; and attorneys’ fees and costs.
Representatives for the parties didn’t immediately return requests for comment Monday.
BRC is represented by Steven G. Hill, Douglas R. Kertscher and Martha L. Decker of Hill Kertscher & Wharton LLP.
Counsel information for Honeywell wasn’t immediately available.
The suit is BuildingReports.com Inc. v. Honeywell International Inc., suit number 1:17-cv-03140, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
–Editing by Pamela Wilkinson.
Original story can be found here: https://www.law360.com/articles/956162/honeywell-rival-says-it-hacked-into-system-and-stole-ip
By Harrison Grimwood
Emergency responders transported two people from a north Tulsa industrial plant following an explosion Tuesday morning.
The injured people, employees of Honeywell Aerospace, were taken to a hospital in unknown conditions.
A paint booth in the plant, located in the 6900 block of North Lakewood Avenue, exploded about 7 a.m., Tulsa Fire Capt. Stan May said.
The two injured worker were ambulatory when firefighters and emergency medical personnel arrived.
May said the damage was contained but extensive. Insulation and fire walls limited the damage to the particular paint booth, a powder-coating area.
The explosion left about an 1,800-square-foot hole in the roof, May said.
As of 8:30 a.m., firefighters had not yet determined the cause of the explosion.
Phoenix-based Honeywell Aerospace is a manufacturer of aircraft engines and avionics.
Original story found here.
By Brian Amaral
Boston — Chemical companies including 3M, United Technologies and Tyco Fire Products LP asked a federal judge in Massachusetts to dismiss a county’s lawsuit over their firefighting foam products, arguing that the county’s contamination allegations are premature and far too vague.
The companies told U.S. District Judge Denise Casper that Barnstable County can’t even say which firefighting foam was used, or when, or how the county was harmed when chemicals from some or all of the foams allegedly contaminated the groundwater at a firefighter training facility. That fails under two Supreme Court cases, Iqbal and Twombly, that are often cited together to bat back lawsuits that don’t allege a particular harm, a lawyer from United Technologies said.
“There is no allegation that United Technologies or any other defendant caused the county harm,” Jonathan I. Handler of Day Pitney LLP said. “They have to say that United Technologies products caused this harm, with some factual adornment. This is exactly the type of fishing expedition that Iqbal and Twombly said you couldn’t proceed on”
In January, Barnstable County sued a number of companies, including 3M, Buckeye Fire Protection Co., Chemguard, Inc., Tyco Fire Products LP, United Technologies Corp. and National Foam Inc., alleging that the companies made aqueous film forming foam, which was developed by the military and helps fight fuel fires. The product was defective and the companies failed to warn customers about potential hazards from chemicals in the foam, the county said.
The county’s suit came after it was hit with a lawsuit of its own, from a local town that hosts the firefighting academy. The town is seeking the costs of treating drinking water from the contamination. The country has also faced demands from state environmental regulators.
The foam, Barnstable County said, contains the chemicals perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, or PFOS, and perfluorooctanoic acid, PFOA. Both pose risks to humans, the county said.
The county said the foam was used at its firefighter training center and leached into its own groundwater and the groundwater of adjoining property.
Yet in part because it didn’t use the foam itself, it can’t identify which products were actually used at the firefighter training facility, the county said. It is enough at this point to allege that the companies made the type of foam that contaminated the site, the county said.
“We can’t look up that United Technologies’ substance was used on the property,” Richard Head of SL Environmental Law Group PC said, adding that it was enough to say they manufactured it.
Some of the particulars can be figured out later, the county’s lawyer said.
“At some level, there has to be some discovery as to the distribution and amount of the substance used,” Head said.
If the county waited in the state litigation to figure out which company’s foam was used when, the statute of limitations could run out, the county argued.
Barnstable County, which encompasses Cape Cod, told Judge Casper that they’d pled enough to show that the companies were negligent; in addition, the county argues that the companies should indemnify them for the consequences of the contamination, like the lawsuit.
An attorney for 3M said the indemnification claims are premature; there’s no judgment against the county in the underlying state action by the town. The county’s arguments that it would be more efficient to litigate the negligence claims along with the indemnification claims shouldn’t outweigh the fact that the alleged harm hasn’t even yet occurred, 3M’s lawyer said.
“Those claims by the county are not ripe,” said Beth A. Landes of Brewer Attorneys and Counselors.
3M is represented by Beth A. Landes of Brewer Attorneys and Counselors and John D. Stuebing of Tarlow Breed Hart & Rodgers PC.
United Technologies Corp. is represented by Jonathan I. Handler and Kennell M. Sambour of Day Pitney LLP.
National Foam Inc. is represented by Christian B.W. Stephens and Pamela C. Rutkowski of Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott LLC.
Buckeye Fire Equipment Co. is represented by Christopher M. Reilly of Sloane & Walsh LLP.
Tyco and Chemguard are represented by Sheila L. Birnbaum, Mark S. Cheffo, Douglas E. Fleming III and David Weinraub of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP and Christopher A. Kenney and Lindsay M. Burke of Kenney & Sams PC.
Barnstable County is represented by Robert D. Cox Jr. and Jennifer L. Garner of Bowditch & Dewey LLP, Richard W. Head of SL Environmental Law Group PC and Kevin J. Madonna and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. of Madonna & Kennedy LLP.
The case is Barnstable County v. 3M et al, case number 1:17-cv-40002 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
–Editing by Orlando Lorenzo.
The original article can be found here.
Polish operator Netia has completed the first stage of the upgrade of its data center in Warsaw. It has become the first collocation center with a state-of-the-art ‘silent nozzle’ extinguisher system. The operator has invested dozens of millions of zlotys in constructing and upgrading the center’s infrastructure, including a fire system of the latest generation, said Adam Kowalczyk, Senior Product Manager at Netia.
Traditional fire systems cause a huge noise, associated with discharging gas, of 135 decibels, similar to a jet plane starting. This can cause permanent damage to a collocation device, such as hard disks, which are highly sensitive and may include critical data.
The system of silent nozzles and pressure regulators enable continuous discharge of gas from bottles, reducing potential turbulence and bringing noise to a safe level, something over 100 decibels, said Zdzislaw Bernaciak, Director of the Department of Health & Safety, Fire Protection and Environment at Netia.
Netia used the services of Tyco, a globally known producer and supplier of extinguishing systems.
Original article can be found here.