The military’s chief weapons buyer sought to throw cold water this week on the idea of consolidation among the U.S.’ largest prime contractors in a year that has seen a rapid pace of merger-and-acquisition deals in the government contracting industry.
Frank Kendall — defense undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics — told a group of reporters Wednesday the Defense Department wants Congress’ help to examine methods to limit consolidation among the U.S.’ top weapons manufacturers, Defense News reported.
Kendall said he expects to start the conversation with Congress within the next few months and cited legal and policy tools as potential means to preserve the defense industrial base’s current landscape of prime contractors and suppliers.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Kendall raised no objections to Lockheed Martin’s planned acquisition of helicopter maker Sikorsky for $9 billion that cleared the antitrust approval process last week and said he did not directly address any specific deal in his comments.
This year has seen a flood of GovCon M&A deals not seen since the early 1990s such as Harris Corp.’s purchase of Exelis, the future CSC Government Services’ pending acquisition of SRA International, SAIC’s buy of Scitor and Engility’s deal for TASC.
Our newsroom editor Ross Wilkers spoke with Federal News Radio live Thursday morning for a segment to analyze what Kendall’s comments could mean for GovCon’s M&A market and other developments from September surrounding the GovCon Index, Executive Mosaic’s composite stock index of 30 contracting firms.
The Index traded Monday and Tuesday in correction territory, or 10 percent down from its most recent high, before a jump Wednesday to close above that mark.
Wilkers and “In Depth” host Francis Rose examined how the Index was subject to the same global economic headwinds that dragged U.S. markets in September, how the upcoming earnings season could give a picture of the GovCon sector’s health and Aerojet Rocketdyne’s move to get in the action on 2015’s M&A spree.
Click here to listen to the full 9-minute segment that aired Thursday.
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