Aquilent to be ac­quired by Booz Allen Hamil­ton

Man­age­ment con­sult­ing firm pay­ing $250 mil­lion for web­site de­signer

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Sarah Gantz sarah.gantz@balt­sun.com

The man­age­ment con­sult­ing gi­ant Booz Allen Hamil­ton is ac­quir­ing Aquilent, a Lau­rel firm that has de­signed more than100 web­sites for fed­eral agen­cies, in a $250 mil­lion deal.

The ac­qui­si­tion, sub­ject to reg­u­la­tory ap­proval, is ex­pected to close by the end of De­cem­ber. It is ex­pected to boost McLean, Va.-based Booz Allen’s rev­enue by up to $35 mil­lion in fis­cal 2017.

Un­der the deal, Aquilent, also known as eGov Hold­ings Inc., will be­come a wholly owned sub­sidiary of Booz Allen as the 102-year-old firm ex­pands to of­fer more tech­nol­ogy ser­vices.

“We’ve al­ways worked with our clients on re­ally hard prob­lems to put the plan and strat­egy in place,” said Greg Wen­zel, an ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent for Booz Allen’s dig­i­tal busi­ness. “What we’re mov­ing into is im­ple­ment­ing those strate­gies for our clients.”

With rev­enue of $5.4 bil­lion in its 2016 fis­cal year, which ended in March, Booz Allen is well known for busi­ness man­age­ment and con­sult­ing ser­vices among gov­ern­ment agen­cies, For­tune 500 com­pa­nies and non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The com­pany has made head­lines re­cently for its con­nec­tions to the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency, based at Fort Meade. It em­ployed Ed­ward Snow­den, the com­puter tech­ni­cian who leaked thousands of pages of clas­si­fied NSA doc­u­ments, and Harold T. Martin III, who was charged in Au­gust with steal­ing clas­si­fied doc­u­ments and keep­ing them in his Glen Burnie home.

Booz Allen em­ploys 22,800 peo­ple glob­ally, in­clud­ing 3,740 at 11 lo­ca­tions in Mary­land. Aquilent em­ploys about 350 peo­ple at its of­fice on the Prince Ge­orge’s County side of Lau­rel.

All of Aquilent’s em­ploy­ees are ex­pected to stay on and the staff will grow over time, Wen­zel said.

“The in­tent is to use them to ig­nite and con­tinue to grow,” he said.

Aquilent, which brings valu­able ex­per­tise and tech­nol­ogy to Booz Allen’s grow­ing dig­i­tal ser­vices busi­ness, will keep its name ini­tially, but even­tu­ally tran­si­tion into a hub within Booz Allen’s Dig­i­tal So­lu­tions Net­work.

Heavy­weights like Booz Allen mak­ing deals — es­pe­cially such large ones — is a positive sign for Mary­land busi­nesses, said Rene LaV­i­gne, chair­man of the Tech Coun­cil of Mary­land.

“I think it speaks vol­umes to the ca­pac­ity in the re­gion and the tal­ent and the ex­per­tise we have in the mar­ket here,” said LaV­i­gne, who is also CEO of Iron Bow Tech­nolo­gies, an in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy firm in Chan­tilly, Va.

Aquilent started as the gov­ern­ment ser­vices di­vi­sion of Com­merce One, a Cal­i­for­nia soft­ware com­pany that thrived in the 1990s be­fore crash­ing when the dot­com bubble burst. Se­nior man­age­ment bought out the unit to cre­ate Aquilent in 2002.

The com­pany spe­cial­izes in dig­i­tal and cloud ser­vices for gov­ern­ment agen­cies, in­clud­ing the U.S. Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices, the Postal Ser­vice and the Gen­eral Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The firm has been grow­ing quickly, an av­er­age of 28 per­cent a year over the past five years.

Aquilent CEO David G. Fout said that sell­ing to Booz Allen of­fers an op­por­tu­nity for the pri­vately held Aquilent to ex­pand into new ar­eas.

“Join­ing a firm like Booz Allen, which aligns so closely with our ex­per­tise, of­fers the chance to ex­pand into new ar­eas of dig­i­tal work, ex­pands ca­pa­bil­i­ties for our clients through the breadth of their re­la­tion­ships, and is a great op­por­tu­nity for the peo­ple of Aquilent,” Fout said in a state­ment.

“We look for­ward to work­ing to­gether to sup­port ex­ist­ing and fu­ture clients.”

For Booz Allen, the deal is a way to bol­ster of­fer­ings that lead­ers think are cen­tral to the firm’s fu­ture suc­cess.

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