Will Alliant Techsystems spinoff take company's Minnesota jobs?

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"Hunting and rockets don't have much in common," notes a story in the Washington Business Journal, which goes on to explain that's what's behind a surprise shakeup at Alliant Techsystems.

ATK on Tuesday announced that it will split into two companies. The move will spin off the sporting ammunition business into a separate firm and merge ATK's defense and aerospace business with Orbital Sciences. The newly-rebranded Orbital ATK will be headquartered in Virginia, where Orbital is located.

The Star Tribune reports that the action could mean the loss of up to 200 jobs at the ATK office in Eden Prairie, which was ATK’s headquarters until 2011 and where corporate activity has continued. But the Business Journal story quoted a spokeswoman who said the company has "no current plans" to eliminate positions there. ATK has 2,450 Minnesota employees, with its armament systems headquarters in Plymouth, a proving grounds facility in Elk River and its sport-shooting division in Anoka.

A news release from the company said boards for both companies unanimously approved the change. Officials said that the split resulted because the defense/space and sporting businesses “operate in two fundamentally different markets with very different operating dynamics.”

ATK entered the sporting goods business in 2001. An increase in the demand for civilian ammunition has helped the company to expand. The new sporting division will be headquartered in Utah; a name and brand for the outdoor sporting operation has not yet been determined.

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