I was sorry about the passing of L-3 Communications'
Nevertheless, the world marches on, and with it go the concerns of what will happen to this significant player in the defense/security electronics and communications sector.
There had been some discussion in the past that one of L-3's drawbacks was the absence of a clear CEO succession plan. That might be understandable, or at least not surprising, in the sense that hard-charging and visionary CEOs like Lanza don't generally accept limitations (including their own mortality). Nevertheless, it is the board's responsibility to uphold the shareholders' best interests, and in this case I believe the board came up deficient.
As a result, there is all manner of speculation about what's going to happen to L-3. Seemingly everybody seems to think that Britain's BAE Systems
Of course, there is another option -- L-3 might just continue on as before. No CEO is irreplaceable, and I'm sure the board of directors could find a suitable person, even if a caretaker has to be appointed for the short term.
Whatever proves to be the case, I'd strap in if I were an L-3 shareholder. The stock is certainly moving up now on the notion of a buyout (and the premium that would likely accompany such a move), but that won't likely come right away. And in the absence of a quick deal, what we have here is what Wall Street hates more than anything -- uncertainty.
If there isn't a quick move from a buyer (or an announcement from the board saying "we're for sale"), it wouldn't shock me to see the stock drift. Whether or not that creates a buying opportunity, I'm not completely certain. I've liked this business before, and I'm inclined to think that this was more than a one-man story. By the same token, Wall Street may move to a "show me" attitude, so buyers today might want to prepare themselves for an environment where the stock has to climb a wall of worry and doubt.
For more Foolish takes on defense:
Fool contributor Stephen Simpson but has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).