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Private equity firm hires federal market execs to find deals

A New York City-based private equity firm has hired a pair of federal market executives who recently sold their company to help identify potential opportunities for acquisitions of other government IT firms.

Former Omniplex World Services executives Mike Santelli and Phil Sweeney have joined Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe as the firm is investing in its 12th fund that has lined up $3.3 billion in commitments.

Santelli and Sweeney more recently led the sale of Omniplex, an investigative services provider to intelligence and Homeland Security agencies, to global security contractor Constellis as the latter sought a new technology and consulting services footprint.

In a Tuesday press release, WCAS cited Omniplex’s growth in revenue and earnings over almost four years prior to the sale in spite of continual flat federal budgets and sequestration budget cuts.

“We are delighted to work with Mike and Phil to build a pre-eminent services provider to the federal government.” said Michael Donovan, general partner at WCAS. “Their operational background and M&A expertise are very well suited to the opportunities that exist in the market today.”

Defense and government IT spending in particular is widely anticipated to increase and that has brought new private equity acquirers into the federal marketplace over recent years outside of traditional investors such as Veritas Capital and Arlington Capital Partners, which more recently sold Polaris Alpha to Parsons.

Those newcomers have included the likes of H.I.G. Capital through its acquisitions last year of NCI and WBB. And the publicly-traded ASGN Inc. (formerly On Assignment) also entered the federal IT market with the purchase of ECS Federal in April.

Launched in 1979, WCAS owns 20 companies mostly in the technology and health care sectors and has organized 16 limited partnerships with total capital of more than $22 billion.

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at rwilkers@washingtontechnology.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also find and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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