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By Nick Wakeman

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Booz makes $250M deal to build digital government skills

Booz Allen Hamilton is buying Aquilent, the company behind such high profile government portals as Healthcare.gov, USA.gov and USPS.gov.

Booz Allen wants to bolsters its capabilities around digital government and Aquilent brings capabilities focused on the end-user experience as well as cloud migration, said Greg Wenzel, Booz Allen executive vice president for its digital business.

The deal is valued at $250 million and is expected to close by the end of the year. The investment bank Houlihan Lokey advised Aquilent in the transaction.

Aquilent will become the foundation of a digital business hub for Booz Allen in Laurel, Md., where Aquilent is headquartered.

Booz Allen has developed several hubs including one in Charleston, S.C., where its 2015 SPARC acquisition was based. SPARC brought capabilities in Agile development and DevOps processes. Other hubs have been established in Herndon, Va., which also is focused on DevOps, and has captured contracts to support GSA’s 18F office, Austin, Texas, and San Diego.

More are in the works, and the idea is to create a digital solutions network that will link Booz Allen’s 4,000 IT professionals and allow them to collaborate and draw on best practices from anywhere in the company, Wenzel said.

All of this is part of Booz Allen’s Vision 2020 strategy to join technology capabilities with the company’s traditional management consulting capabilities, he said.

With Aquilent, the company is picking up 350 IT professionals who are providing digital and cloud services to a variety of federal agencies such as Health and Human Services, U.S. Postal Service, GSA, EPA and others. The company’s management team, led by CEO David Fout, is expected to come on board. No layoffs are planned, Wenzel said.

For Booz Allen’s fiscal 2017, which will end March 31, 2017, Aquilent will add between $30 million and $35 million in revenue.

The company will continue to look for acquisitions that will build its digital capabilities, Wenzel said. He defined digital as solutions involving social media, analytics, mobile and cloud technologies.

“You want to push new user experiences out to the edge,” he said. “And there is the cloud transformation and getting the value out of the cloud beyond just servers in a data center.”

Aquilent has a strong end-user practice through the portals it has built for various agencies as well as a strong relationship with Amazon Web Services where it has honed its cloud migration skills.

“We have been doing those things, but Acquilent accelerates our capabilities,” Wenzel said.

The idea for Booz Allen is to bring new technologies that directly address customer needs, which is why they are using their management consulting experience and the domain expertise that comes from that work to drive what technologies they bring to their customers, he said.

“We aren’t pushing a particular product,” he said. “But we are becoming a one-stop shop for our customers.”

In a statement, Booz Allen CEO Horacio Rozanski said the acquisition “further advances our long-term growth strategy. We are driving sustainable quality growth through client solutions that blend technical capabilities and talent with our consulting heritage.”

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Nov 29, 2016 at 6:11 AM


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