One of the world’s two largest airplane manufacturers is mulling acquisitions in the defense services arena that would continue a trend among prime contractors toward capability-based deals.
Leanne Caret, CEO of Boeing’s $30.4 billion defense segment, told a group of journalists at the U.K. Farnborough International Airshow Sunday the company wants any acquired company to act as a “bolt on” and contribute additional revenue, per a Bloomberg report.
Hardly any acquisition by a prime contractor would be able to top either Lockheed Martin’s $9 billion buy of the helicopter maker Sikorsky announced around this time last year or Harris’ $4.7 billion purchase of Exelis in May to significantly alter the landscape.
The more significant trend among larger and middle-tier primes within the last two years has been to pursue targeted deals with twin goals to add new technologies and also gain access to new agency customers.
Raytheon has given us two examples of those types of buys via the missile maker’s $425 million acquisition of cyber and special operations contractor Blackbird in November 2014, plus network defense company Foreground Security for an undisclosed sum almost one year later.
The C4ISR arena has been active as San Diego-based Cubic Corp. invested $386 million to purchase of three defense technology makers during 2014 and 2015, while L-3 Communications bought Nashville-based ForceX in October 2015 for new surveillance and geospatial tools as part of its larger reposition toward the defense technology arena.
Additionally, General Dynamics snapped up the underwater drone maker Bluefin Robotics earlier this year to add new unmanned manufacturing work for the Navy and bring in 50 skilled workers with experience in the field.
How the big primes are repositioning themselves in a ever-changing global security and government spending environment will surely be on the minds of Wall Street analysts starting next week when Lockheed officially kicks off GovCon’s second quarter earnings season Tuesday.
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