United Technologies Corp. is nearing a deal to buy Cedar Rapids-based Rockwell Collins Inc. for more than $20 billion, a tie-up that would create one of the world’s biggest aircraft-equipment makers, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The companies are discussing a per-share price for Rockwell of $140 or less and could come to an agreement as soon as this weekend, according to people familiar with the situation.

Should the transaction happen, it would rank as the largest aerospace deal on record, eclipsing United Technologies’ 2012 acquisition of Goodrich Corp. for about $16.5 billion, according to Dealogic. It would also be one of the five biggest takeovers of the year, Dealogic data show.

Rockwell specializes in cockpit displays and communications systems for passenger jets and military programs. In April, the company closed its roughly $6 billion acquisition of B/E Aerospace Inc., a maker of plane seats and interiors.

Shares of Rockwell and United Technologies closed 2.1 percent and 2.9 percent higher, respectively, on Tuesday on the news. United Technologies investors cheered the likelihood that the company will be able to secure the deal without paying a higher price that some had expected, the Journal reported. 

Amrita Nain, an associate professor of finance at the University of Iowa, said it’s questionable whether United Technologies can generate enough cost savings to justify the more than 30 percent premium it’s offering on Rockwell’s stock price. Additionally, Rockwell’s price has increased significantly over the course of 2017, which implies about a 55 percent premium over its January stock price of about $93, she said in emailed comments. Rockwell is trading today at more than $130 per share. 

“Rockwell is a fairly well-managed company, so there are unlikely to be obvious inefficiencies sitting around for United to fix,” Nain said. “In some acquisitions, cost cuts can come from eliminating redundancies and overlapping facilities. However, United Tech and Rockwell have very little product overlap. While the small product overlap makes it less likely that the deal will face antitrust objections, it also makes cost synergies harder to achieve.” 

As a result, Nain said she believes United Technologies will have to generate most of the value from revenue synergies and innovation. 

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett said he met with Rockwell Collins leadership Aug. 8 to learn what he could about the situation and what it could mean for the city, the Corridor Business Journal reported. Corbett expressed concern about the possibility of losing a corporate headquarters and the benefits that go along with it. 

“There are a lot of things they don’t know at this time, and a lot of the things they know they couldn’t talk about,” Corbett said.