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Houlihan Lokey (NYSE: HLI) is a global investment bank with expertise in mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, financial restructuring, valuation, and strategic consulting. The firm serves corporations, institutions, and governments worldwide with offices... more.
Board Of Directors | Northern Virginia Technology Council
Jean Stack, Houlihan Lokey
Mid-tier companies that are entirely focused on defense and intelligence work are emerging as major targets of opportunity for private equity, said Jean Stack, managing director of Houlihan Lokey's aerospace, defense and government group.
The firm advises companies on mergers and acquisitions. Transactions have picked up over the past year, she said. Since 2015, Houlihan Lokey has worked on 23 government services deals valued at over $3 billion. Among the largest were the sale of contractor-services provider PAE to Platinum Equity, of mobile communications supplier Oceans Edge to ManTech, of information technology firm Prime Solutions to Altamira, and the sale of the analytics company Novetta to The Carlyle Group. The latest deal announced last week was the sale of EOIR Technologies - a defense and intelligence services, analytics and cloud computing firm - by The White Oak Guggenheim Aerospace Defense Fund to Arlington Capital Partners. This transaction involving a mid-size firm such as EOIR - with approximately 400 employees in 11 U.S. and overseas offices - shows that investors are sifting through the defense sector with fresh eyes and making long-term bets, Stack said. There is a resurgence of private equity investment in the defense sector following a protracted wait-and-see period, she noted. "I wouldn't say there's one strategy that defines the market," Stack said. Arlington Capital Partners, based in Washington, D.C., has been especially keen on defense contractors and other companies that operate in highly regulated industries. The firm has three investment funds estimated at $1.5 billion. Arlington was involved in more than 20 transactions over the past five years, including the acquisition of Endeavor Robotics (previously iRobot Defense & Security), MicroPact, a provider of business management software, and Quantum Spatial, a geospatial analytics firm. Stack said investors' moves reflect an understanding that defense work does not mix well with commercial business. A slew of divestitures in recent years were by top defense prime contractors exiting commercial markets. A case in point is cybersecurity, regarded as a hot market for more than a decade. Suppliers of cyber products find it hard to be successful in both government and commercial sectors, Stack said.
Contact | Houlihan Lokey
JEAN STACK DISCUSSES THE M&A LANDSCAPE IN THE FEDERAL BUSINESS SECTOR ON FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
"When you say alternatives to [mergers and acquisitions], I think about trying to achieve liquidity," said Jean Stack, managing director at the investment bank Houlihan Lokey, and there are a number of these alternatives.
Jean Stack of Houlihan Lokey