COMPANIES

Inside the Vistronix M&A engine

Few companies have made as many acquisitions in the last three years as Vistronix, so when the CEO talks M&A strategy, it's a good idea to listen.

“Now we feel comfortable in the areas we wanted to be in,” said president and CEO John Hassoun, speaking at the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 GovCon Symposium on Thursday.

The company’s goal was to leverage its big data strategy to get into key markets via acquisitions. Each acquisition has targeted those defense and civilian markets.

To determine which companies to pursue, Vistronix looks at itself first. “What kinds of gaps do we have to increase our profitability,” Hassoun said. Then, the company goes out and finds those capabilities.

The first three acquisitions added capabilities like IT tech support, big data analytics, cybersecurity, engineering and cloud computing architecture capabilities, Hassoun told Washington Technology in an interview after the company won “best dealmaker of the year” as part of WT’s 2013 M&A special report.

The second three acquisitions, all made at the end of 2014, were a straight play for intelligence community work.

Folding those six acquisitions into Vistronix added a number of customers in the defense, federal civilian and intelligence markets, but they also added a number of employees. Vistronix went from 250 people at the end of 2012 to having 750 employees today, Hassoun said at the chamber event.

“There are a lot of challenges you get with that,” he said. There are differences in cultures, expectations, clients, and even differences in benefits.

“So, we adopted very early on a kind of mantra,” he said: They vowed to be flexible and agile not only in serving its clients, but also in serving employees.

So far, so good, Hassoun said.

Vistronix itself has been eyed by other companies as an acquisition target. “A lot of commercial entities are out there looking at us in terms of offerings,” Hassoun said, but until an agreement can be structured such that Vistronix is comfortable with it, no dice.

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a senior staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at mhoover@washingtontechnology.com, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

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