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Lockheed in the lead to buy Sikorsky from United Tech

(Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp is the leading candidate to buy United Technologies Corp's Sikorsky helicopter unit in a deal that could value the business at more than $8 billion (5 billion pounds), a source familiar with the situation said on Friday.

United Technologies last month announced it was exiting the helicopter area and would either sell Sikorsky or spin it off, following a review of strategic alternatives.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Lockheed and Textron Inc had emerged as final contenders to buy Sikorsky, with a decision possible by the end of the month. United Tech could still instead seek to spin off the business, the sources said.

Representatives from Lockheed and United Technologies declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal earlier on Friday reported that Lockheed was in advanced talks to buy Sikorsky.

(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf in New York and Andrea Shalal in Washington; Editing by Christian Plumb)