After spending decades at Northrop Grumman, Seymour left in 2008 to head a small, capable but problem-plagued company: GenCorp. Half of the company was solid-rocket maker Aerojet and the other a real estate firm. He restored the company to financial health and methodically cut costs, earning the admiration of the Pentagon. To grow the company, in July 2012 he made a bold move: to buy Pratt & Whitney’s Rocketdyne business to merge the nation’s two legacy liquid-fuel rocket engine makers. The deal would test the limits of the government’s willingness to allow consolidation in sectors with no new program opportunities just as declining defense spending is expected to force more mergers to monopolies. The companies argued the deal should move ahead given the government was buying too few engines to keep both companies alive, and that there was a new liquid-fuel rocket competitor, SpaceX. The Pentagon strongly advocated for the deal to save $100 million a year and the Federal Trade Commission agreed — without demanding any concessions by the companies. The attorney representing the companies was Jeff Bialos, the Pentagon’s former industrial affairs chief who is a partner with Sutherland.