NEW YORK:  When Hell freezes over -- Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) announced today that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied its June 22, 2007, protest of the Department of the Army awarding a contract to provide the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) to the Government. Said a company spokesman: "We wanted to win this contract. We should have won this contract. Our C-295 aircraft was rated qualitatively equal to L-3 Communications' (NYSE:LLL) C-27J offering, and we beat their price by a good 15%."

"When you get right down to it," the company spokesman continued, "there's just no excuse for our not winning this round. But knowing that we could have won and should have won is just going to encourage us to try harder.

"To L-3, its partners at Boeing (NYSE:BA), Alenia, and the others, I've got just two things to say: The Spartan turboprop is a fine aircraft (even if ours was better), and we congratulate you on winning Round 1. But the next time we meet, look out!"

If you're reading the above press release for the first time, there's good reason for that: It never existed. Raytheon never wrote it -- I did. Why? Well, to illustrate a point.  When I read the story of the C-27J's award to L-3 yesterday, it got me to thinking: Why is it that when a company has good news (or at Lockheed (NYSE:LMT), apparently, even when it has no news), it's quick to rush out a boastful press release, but when the news is bad, the PR department takes a powder?

I mean, news of the C-27J award engendered not one but two crowing press releases from the victorious L-3 yesterday. If you relied upon Raytheon to tell you what was important at Raytheon, you'd think the only thing of note yesterday was the firm's win of a $6.5 million contract to research silicon chips. And the $6 billion contract to build military transport aircraft? Pshaw! Peanuts.

Call me naive if you will, but as a shareholder myself (though not in Raytheon), I think our companies owe their owners better. They owe it to us to tell us about material events, whether good news or bad. Instead, they hand us a shovel and tell us to dig it up for ourselves.

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