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Many Small Defense Related M&A Ongoing

One of the events waiting to happen as the U.S. restructures its defense budget is whether there will be a merger of two of the big U.S. contractors. Northrop Grumman’s (NOC) plan to get out of the shipbuilding business has led to rumors that it would then merge with Boeing (BA) or somebody else. In the Nineties when the last major downturn in spending occurred there was a rapid reduction in the number of defense contractors as Boeing, Northrop and Lockheed Martin (LMT) absorbed medium sized companies such as Grumman and Logicon.

Even though there has been no major M&A such as this many smaller deals continue as companies acquire capabilities to enhance their competitiveness in selected defense markets or expand into new areas. The potential focus on intelligence and services has already seen a great deal of activity.

For example Kratos Defense and Security Solutions (KTOS) is looking at merging with Henry Brothers Electronics (HBE) that would expand Kratos business line into access control and enhance its surveillance and security systems. Kratos is just one of multiple suitors for HBE and this all cash deal is worth over $45 million.

AbelConn and Photo Etch recently announced plans to merge. These two small companies provide component development and production for aerospace corporations. The merger will allow the two to expand their capabilities in design and production helping to maximize efficiencies and marketing. This kind of merger may become more common if the U.S. production of aircraft continues to decline minimizing business opportunities for sub-contractors.

These kind of deals will continue to be common as large companies target new technologies or business areas to make up for any reduction in their traditional work. Smaller companies will also look to each other to counter potential loss of business.

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U.S. Army To Buy Innovative Missile M&S From Kratos

Kratos Defense and Security Solutions (KTOS) announced that it had won a contract to provide “Innovative Missile Design, Multi-Spectral Hardware-in-the-Loop (HWIL) Testing, Simulation, and Sensor Technology Development” to the U.S. Army. The contract is worth up to $25 million if all options and work is executed.

Kratos and its team members will provide support to the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, AL. The first part of the contract to be executed will involve development of innovative missile design and simulation and test technologies. Redstone is the base for the Army’s PEO (Missile and Space) and PEO (Aviation). Anti-tank, air defense and other missile programs such as the Hellfire, Javelin and PATRIOT are developed and managed there.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/emeryjl/ / CC BY 2.0
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Two M&A Actions Announced Involving DynCorp and Kratos Defense

Two defense related Merger & Acquisitions (M&A) were announced yesterday. One of these announcements involving DynCorp International (DCO) was the first blockbuster deal of the year. In the second Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (KTOS) said they would be acquiring the maker of tactical shelters.

Cerebus Capital Management, most famous for their ill-fated purchase of Chrysler from Daimler Benz, has agreed to acquire DynCorp International in a deal worth about $1 billion. The proposed purchase of each share for $17.55 must still be approved by the shareholders.

DynCorp is best known for providing training and intelligence support to the U.S State Department and military in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are in hot competition with Xe Services for a large contract to provide training to the Afghan National Police (ANP).

Kratos will acquire Gichner Holdings, Inc. for roughly $133 million. Gichner makes tents, tactical shelters and other storage solutions mainly for military systems. They are used by UAV systems like the Predator and Reaper as well a the PATRIOT air defense system. This deal still needs regulatory approval.

While there were a substantial number of deals in the last twelve months a report by PriceWaterhouseCooper found that they were at a ten year low in total value. These figures were even more skewed by two large deals — the sale of TASC by Northrop Grumman (NOC) valued at over $1.6 billion and Boeing’s (BA) acquisition of Vought’s 787 production line.

If there is a contraction in defense spending by the U.S. and other countries as some have been expecting that might lead to more deals. In the Nineties when the Reagan build up ended with the “Peace Dividend” there was severe contraction in the U.S. defense industry with several major mergers and acquisitions.

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Digital Fusion Now Part of Kratos

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions announced that it had completed the acquisition of Digital Fusion as an expansion of their capabilities in UAV and C4ISR. MSNBC has the press release. Digital Fusion which is based in Hutsville, AL and primarily supports the U.S. Army provides Kratos new opportunities in that market. One of the easiest ways for a company to grow capability or enter a new market is to acquire an existing company that already has the work. While there are sometimes issues of merging corporate cultures and people in the long most of these M&A activities are beneficial.

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Kratos wins Navy target support contract

Kratos Defense and Security Solutions won a contract to support the Navy’s missile test ranges. See the press release here. Along with its team member, Systems Applications & Technologies, Inc, Kratos will support surface and aerial target operations. This includes mission planning as well as target maintenance and launch. Kratos continues its support of the various services in the area of target production and support. The contract is worth $59 M.

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