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In December 1997 Hughes spun off its defense business in the form of a new company called Hughes Defense. All stock in the new company (about 120 million shares, if I recall correctly) went to GM/GMH stockholders.

Virtually concurrent with the spin off was a merger of the newly created Hughes Defense with Raytheon, with Hughes Defense as the surviving company. The merged Hughes Defense was then immediately renamed as the 'New Raytheon'. One possible reason for retaining the Raytheon name was political expediency - intended to limit public backlash in MA over the tax break issue (IMHO).

The original Hughes Defense stock held by GM/GMH stockholders became RTN Class A, carrying with it the majority of the voting rights. The original Raytheon shares became the Class B.

As to the difference in price of the classes, one thing to keep in mind is that the B shares may simply have more selling pressure than the A shares. Since the B shares are the S&P index component, they are more likely to be institutionally held and consequently depressed by institutional dumping.
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