How M&A in 2023 started in the year's first week Yepes

Two of the publicly traded contractors in our coverage universe were not the only ones to announce acquisitions in the first week of this new year.

The 2023 cycle of mergers and acquisitions officially got going this week when L3Harris Technologies completed its nearly $2 billion acquisition of the Viasat tactical data link business, first announced late last year.

Tetra Tech then revealed its purchase of the cyber services outfit Amyx.

On top of those deals were three more transactions that hit the wire in the first week of the new year.

Here is a snapshot of that trio: none of which disclosed the terms, two of which involve drone technology.


This government services company is seeking more of a technology-centered footprint through its acquisition of Xcel Engineering, a provider of IT and engineering solutions to government agencies.

Xcel's range of offerings covers areas such as IT staffing, IT solutions, environmental engineering, and project management and consulting.

Huntsville, Alabama-headquartered MartinFed has appointed one of its executive vice presidents in Jim Page, a recent hire, to lead the Xcel business when he joins the leadership team in March.

Xcel bases its headquarters in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The companies plan to expand that presence in Oak Ridge, which is home to the national laboratory named for its location and the Y-12 National Security Complex for manufacturing nuclear components.


This airspace security technology company is looking to incorporate more of a hardware focus into its portfolio through the purchase of Aerial Armor, a maker of counter-drone systems.

Dedrone views this acquisition as helping it build out a platform with multiple sensors and a single user interface that helps customers detect, track, identify and mitigate unmanned aerial vehicles. Governments, critical infrastructure sites, airports and prisons are among the users of Dedrone's products.

Aerial Armor's CEO Russ Haugan and chief technology officer Matt Altman will remain with the combined company, Dedrone said.

Kroll was the financial adviser to Aerial Armor. Other advisers on the sell-side were Crowell & Moring for legal matters, plus Warren Everett on tax and accounting.

DZYNE Technologies

This unmanned aircraft systems maker is pushing into the next phase of its growth strategy with an agreement to be acquired by Highlander Partners, a private equity firm taking a specific interest in that technology.

Highlander stood up a holding firm in the spring of 2022 called High Point to acquire and bring together counter-UAS technology businesses. DZYNE represents acquisition number two for that ongoing effort with the first transaction announced in December, where Highlander bought Liteye Systems.

DZYNE designs its vehicles with embedded artificial intelligence functionality in order to enable autonomous flight, full-motion video, processing, targeting and tracking features.

Houlihan Lokey acted as financial adviser to DZYNE and SheppardMullin provided legal support on the sell side. Baker McKenzie worked as Highlander’s legal counsel and Regions Bank was financial adviser on the buy side.