Saturday, May 31, 2008

Harris Corp. should use Craigslist to sell company

No one is home at Harris HQ at 2 a.m. Corporate executives were clearly avoiding me and any questions I would have asked them about the potential sale.

Our esteemed fellow journalists at The Wall Street Journal have reported that Harris Corp., the Melbourne government contractor, has entertained bids from a couple of heavy-hitters.

Citing unnamed sources, of course, our News Corp. buddies in South Brunswick, N.J. (1,076 miles from Melbourne), said the suitors could be Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics. But these companies run the risk of insulting Harris with their $70-per-share bids ($10 billion total): The company was hoping for between $75 and $80.

The news of a possible sale first broke earlier this month in The Journal.

(Reading about a definite sale of Harris would provide nearly the same level of geeky excitement as when I first learned about the in-flight Web service effort by JetBlue and LiveTV, another Melbourne company, in The New York Times.)

Harris stock rose 6.2 percent Friday and closed at $65.78 a share, making it one of the superstars on Wall Street. I should get me some of that. It's better than Gannett.

Seeking comment for The Offlede, I went down to Harris' corporate headquarters on Nasa Boulevard earlier. But the campus was dark. Few people were around at 2 a.m.; executives were obviously avoiding The Offlede's tough questions.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Harris wasn't getting much love at its yard sale. Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics stopped by and said, "Hi," but no one was very serious because the product field Harris offers is too narrow, and U.S. defense spending is about to peak.

The Offlede's financial advice: Harris should use Craigslist. It has a burgeoning "Space Coast" section. And there are plenty of people on that thing willing to overpay, such as the person who gave me $100 for a bike I bought at Wal-Mart for $80. (Granted, I did pimp it out with pinstripes and alloy spokes, but honestly, the cardboard the bike came in was worth more than the pedaling machine itself.)

Some former Harris products are antiquated, such as the publishing system, NewsMaker, left, that I use each night to make newspaper pages. It likely wouldn't sell very well on Craigslist. This arm of Harris was sold years ago, however, so it's not weighing down the company anymore. Just me.

1 comment:

shoyu said...

I bet a Chinese electronics company will buy Harris Corp. Hopefully, it'll bring a modern pagination system over here.