Acorn Growth Companies prepares to make half-dozen investments

By Marjorie Censer / June 20, 2019 at 11:08 AM

Acorn Growth Companies, a private-equity firm exclusively focused on aerospace, defense and intelligence companies, is preparing to make about six more investments this year, according to its managing partner.

Rick Nagel told Inside Defense this week the firm today has eight companies in its portfolio. By the end of the year, he said, that number is expected to be 14.

The company's portfolio is spread across multiple areas, from composite manufacturing to defense electronics to radar and satellite communications.

Nagel said Acorn Growth tends to hold onto its investments slightly longer than typical private-equity firms. The standard period is three to five years; Acorn Growth holds for about five to seven years, he said.

Nagel said the six deals the company expects to close this year are already in the pipeline with signed letters of intent.

Acorn Growth doesn't have a set goal for the number of transactions it completes a year, he said, but noted the company looks at about 200 deals a year.

"This year, we're on pace to do a lot more" than usual, Nagel told Inside Defense. "We've added a lot of people to the team."

Earlier this year, the firm announced it had hired Gregory Bloom as its newest partner and chief operating officer. He previously was president of contractor Seal Science.

Late last year, Acorn Growth added Greg Agnew, who established Canaccord Genuity's U.S. aerospace, defense and government contracting investment banking group, as a partner, and Hal Chrisman, an ICF International executive, as a strategy and analysis executive.