ULA approval soon?

Some deals in Washington seem to take forever to close. A case in point is the sale of the Washington Nationals, the city’s professional baseball franchise that is currently owned by the league. Major League Baseball officials originally planned to sell the team to local owners within a few months of the September 2004 announcement that the franchise would be moving to the city from Montreal. The Nats are still owned by MLB, after the league blew past deadline after self-imposed deadline, although a deal could be done soon.

The same can be said for the United Launch Alliance, the Boeing-Lockheed Martin EELV joint venture. Next week will mark the first anniversary of the announcement of the ULA, but the deal has yet to close because of an ongoing government review. However, Reuters reported late Monday that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is expected to approve the venture, with conditions, “within the next few weeks.” The terms of the conditions weren’t disclosed in the article, although the biggest concern appears to be safeguards to keep Boeing and Lockheed’s satellite manufacturing divisions from gaining an unfair advantage over other companies, notably Northrop Grumman. Keep in mind, though, that this deal has dragged on far longer than expected, so a “few weeks” could turn out to be much longer. After all, MLB president Bob DuPuy told Congress that the league would choose a new owner for the Nationals in the next two weeks—two and a half weeks ago.

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