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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

The market's history is all about change

Overheard while getting lunch today:

I’m old. I worked at Andersen Consulting.

That was a man who looked younger than me talking to two other men who looked to be older than 25 but younger than 35. The man went on to give a brief history lesson on how Andersen Consulting separated from Arthur Andersen, shortly before the accounting firm imploded in the wake of the Enron scandal.

And yes, he also had to explain what Enron was.

I retell this story not to poke fun at youngsters today and a perceived lack of historical context, but as a reminder that no firm in this industry is too big to fail or to be absorbed into something else.

There is a long line of storied brand names that we’ve seen be subsumed into another entity. I won’t go back more than five years but gone from the federal market are Computer Sciences Corp., SRA International, and TASC. There are legions more if I go back 10 or more years.

Most of these of course didn’t disappear because a scandal such as Arthur Andersen. They either merged with another company or got acquired. So those are positive happenings.

The bigger lessons are that change is inevitable and that anything is possible. Leidos bought Lockheed Martin’s IT business. General Dynamics bought CSRA. Harris Corp. has merged with L3 Technologies. Raytheon and United Technologies Corp. are merging.

As ground-shaking as these transactions were and are, they are not the end. They are signs of a market that is evolving and maturing.

Bigger changes are always coming. But remember a bit of our history too.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jul 08, 2019 at 11:28 AM

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