WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Applied Insight's latest acquisition adds intell firm

Most private equity-backed firms are looked at as a merger and acquisition machine that closes one deal and simultaneously looks for the next one.

Early in its existence, Applied Insight fit that bill. It closed five deals in less than two years after it was created in 2018 through a spinoff from Intelligent Decisions.

But after August 2019, the company didn’t make another deal until this week when it acquired Bridges Inc. Terms were not disclosed.

The deal adds a variety of capabilities that compliment AI’s cloud and data analytics offerings, including Bridges' cross-domain solutions in the intelligence market. Cross-domain solutions move data from unclassified networks to the classified side in a secure manner.

“We can take those capabilities and amplify them with our cloud solutions,” said AI CEO Dede Dascalu.

But don’t expect the Bridges deal to kick off more buying by AI, which is backed by the private equity group The Acacia Group.

“We aren’t actively looking but if we see something that makes sense, we’ll move,” Dascalu said.

AI has focused on integration and it plans the same approach with Bridges.

“We want to make sure we pay attention to Bridges,” he said.

The company believes it doesn’t need acquisitions to grow. “Our capabilities are in high demand,” Dascalu said.

With Bridges in tow, the expectation among AI is that demand of its offerings will continue to grow. Both companies have partnered on several projects in the intelligence market, so they know each other well.

Bridges will operate under its own name with the “an Applied Insight company” tag line. That is the approach AI has followed with its other acquisitions.

“We believe in strong brands,” Dascalu said.

But behind the scenes, AI integrates its acquisitions so everyone can share business development and capture resources.

Dascalu called Bridges a game-changer for AI because it will bring it deeper penetration into the intelligence market. By marrying AI’s cloud capabilities with Bridges’ cross-domain and cyber offerings, he sees AI having a powerful story to tell.

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed intelligence agencies toward accepting more people working from home. But that can be a complex endeavor because of security concerns.

Bridges cross-domain offerings coupled with AI’s hybrid and multi-cloud solutions can address many of those concerns, Dascalu said.

The companies have already been jointly pursuing those kinds of opportunities in the intelligence market and with the acquisition they can do even more, Dascalu said.

“By ourselves we just didn’t have as much horsepower,” he said.

Bridges brings about 100 new employees to AI, which now will have a head count of 700. Investment bank Baird worked with Bridges on the transaction.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Feb 17, 2021 at 1:01 AM

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