Boeing has held preliminary talks with aircraft-parts supplier Woodward Inc. as it scouts potential targets to help build a new division into a $50 billion behemoth, said people familiar with the talks.
The discussions have been going on for months and no deal is imminent, nor is there any guarantee Boeing would reach a final agreement with Woodward, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are confidential.
A joint venture may be more likely than an acquisition since about 35 percent of Woodward’s sales are to energy companies, George Godfrey, an analyst with C.L. King and Associates, said in a report to clients Thursday.
Woodward’s aerospace business also has a jet-engine partnership with General Electric that might prove difficult for Boeing to unravel.
“We would be surprised if a takeover of the whole company is completed by Boeing,” Godfrey said.
Boeing has been looking to joint ventures and acquisitions as it works to beef up a new division, created last year, to provide maintenance, spare parts, retrofits and other services to airline and military customers. CEO Dennis Muilenburg has set a target of expanding service division sales from $14.6 billion to $50 billion over the next decade.
The Chicago-based manufacturer has been taking over work previously performed by its suppliers as it builds a portfolio of highly profitable spare parts to be sold to airlines on the aftermarket.
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The areas targeted by the company include actuators — a specialty of Woodward’s — along with avionics, seats and engine covers known as nacelles.
A Boeing spokeswoman declined to comment on the talks, while a Woodward representative couldn’t immediately be reached.