CRGT Set To Grow Under New Ownership

November 06, 2014

A contractor that got its start designing and operating the web portal Army Knowledge Online is poised to get a lot bigger.

CRGT has already grown plenty since those early days in the late 1990s. After being bought by private-equity firm Veritas Capital in 2008, the company rapidly diversified, moving out of defense work and seeking to get more specialized.

This week, private-equity firm Bridge Growth Partners announced it has agreed to buy CRGT in a bid to continue its expansion.

Five years ago, CRGT was a very different company. Then, "about 90 percent of our revenue was in defense -- maybe even higher than 90," said Tom Ferrando, CRGT's chief executive, in an interview with InsideDefense.com.

The company, owned by Veritas at the time, sought to branch out, and today, about 60 percent of its work is with federal civilian agencies and about 40 percent in defense. The contractor, which has nearly 1,000 employees, has expanded into data analytics, agile software development and cybersecurity.

The company's new profile made it an attractive purchase for Bridge Growth, whose founders include Kevin Parker, the former chief executive of Deltek. Deltek, which provides software and market research to government contractors and other businesses, was itself sold to a private-equity company for $1.1 billion in 2012.

Parker founded Bridge Growth last year with Alok Singh, a former managing director at private investment firm New Mountain Capital; and Sander Levy, a founding partner of Vestar Capital Partners.

In an interview with InsideDefense.com, Parker said Bridge Growth intends to boost CRGT's existing strategy.

"We don't see ourselves as turnaround experts," he said. "This was really about providing the experience to help [CRGT] grow."

Bridge Growth did not disclose CRGT's revenue or the sale price. Under the deal, Veritas will maintain a minority stake in CRGT.

Parker said the contractor's management team will remain in place. "The ownership change is really not a change in vision for the company," he said.

Ferrando said CRGT has plenty of room to grow. "We spent the last number of years diversifying and growing organically, so we've captured a number of new customers," he said. "There's plenty of opportunity within the new customer sets that we've acquired."

Bridge Growth is also prepared to bolster the company through additional purchases, which Parker said could come within the next year.

"It would not be unreasonable to expect us to be acquisitive," he said. -- Marjorie Censer