No. 12: Despite sale, Anteon's vision lives on
- By Nick Wakeman
- May 11, 2006
Joseph Kampf, president and CEO of Anteon
When Joseph Kampf started building Anteon International Corp. back in 1996, his vision was a simple one. He and his backers at private equity group Caxton-Iseman Capital Inc. foresaw a changing acquisition environment, with government buyers buying products and services more like the commercial market did.
In the future, as Kampf, president and CEO of the Fairfax, Va., company, conceived it, "the acquisition process would be more tactical. Instead of single, large awards, acquisitions would be more task-order oriented," he said.
That kind of change would mean the government market would move more quickly and would grow at a faster rate, he said. Building a bid and proposal engine to operate in that faster marketplace was part of the company's growth strategy.
A second strategic thrust was targeting opportunities for which Anteon could provide services and build systems that directly support the mission of the Defense Department and intelligence agencies.
Guided by Kampf's strategy, Anteon would not offer back-office, IT infrastructure services such as network support. Instead, it would offer mission support in such areas as training and simulation software, intelligence systems and operations.
"That really turned out to be the right answer for us," Kampf said.
Ten years later, it's hard to argue with Kampf's vision. Anteon has grown from $100 million in revenue in 1996 to $1.5 billion in 2005.
The company landed at No. 12 on the Top 100, with $1.3 billion in prime IT contracting revenue.
"Maybe we were quite smart in the beginning, but we were very lucky along the way, too," Kampf said.
The company's success also attracted a suitor with deep pockets. In December, the No. 4 company on the Top 100, General Dynamics Corp. of Falls Church, Va., agreed to acquire Anteon for $2.2 billion.
The acquisition's closing has been delayed while the Justice Department reviews the transaction for antitrust issues, but Anteon and General Dynamics officials expect the deal to be completed by the end of June.
Despite the pending sale, Kampf said he is convinced that Anteon's focus on its customers' mission requirements would just as easily let the company continue to succeed as an independent company.
"The mission world is the only sweet spot to be in. There are no other sweet spots," he said.
Limiting factors such as budget deficits, the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and threats in other global hot spots mean that the government's top priority will be its missions, Kampf said.
"The priority will not be on building a new financial system or human resources systems or an integrated network," he said. "When money gets spent on the frontlines, there isn't a lot left for other priorities."
General Dynamics shares that mission-focused vision of the government market, and noticed a void in its offerings, especially in the area of services, Kampf said.
Company officials approached Anteon, and the strategic fit made sense to Kampf.
"The second part of it is, they made a tremendous offer that was hard to refuse from a shareholder perspective," he said.
In its new slot, Anteon will be a crucial part of a tier-one defense company and can continue to deliver mission-critical services, he said.
"The model just rolls forward and continues to create a lot of value," Kampf said.Additional 2006 Top 100 ProfilesNo. 1: 12 times the fun for Lockheed No. 2: Northrop takes aim on health ITNo. 3: SAIC prepares for public debutNo. 4: Revving the acquisition engineNo. 5: CSC holds a lure for a buyerNo. 6: Raytheon works the systemNo. 7: L-3 cuts bigger slice of govt pieNo. 8: For EDS, steady as she goesNo. 9: Booz Allen adapts to stay on topNo. 10: Dell solutions get superpoweredNo. 11: BAE keeps acquisition fires burningNo. 12: Despite sale, Anteon's vision lives onNo. 13: Intelligence work fuels CACI's growthNo. 14: Verizon-MCI combination packs a punchNo. 15: Restructured IDS lets Boeing help clientsNo. 16: ITT Industries aims for the sweet spotNo. 17: IBM Corp. steps up as a subcontractorNo. 18: Sprint Nextel goes for convergenceNo. 19: For SRA, the profit is in its peopleNo. 20: It's always mission possible for UnisysOverview: The Billion-Dollar Club
Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.