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IT security skills, federal work drive Sirius' Force 3 deal

Sirius Computer Solutions has agreed to acquire Force 3, a move that will give Sirius a federal government operation and a combined company with more than $2 billion in revenue.

Sirius Computer Solutions stands to gain a federal IT services operation along with networking and IT security skills in its pending acquisition of Force 3.

Sirius, based in San Antonio, today announced an agreement to purchase Force 3, a solutions provider based in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. Force 3 holds contracts on a number of high-profile government procurement vehicles including the General Services Administration's Schedule 70, the military's NETCENTS-2, NASA's Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement and the National Institutes of Health's Electronic Commodities Store III program.

The transaction is expected to close March 31. With the addition of Force 3, Sirius will have revenue of more than $2 billion. Upon the deal's completion, Force 3 will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Sirius.

Joe Mertens, president and CEO at Sirius, said Force 3's federal presence was a key factor behind the transaction. He said Sirius' growth over the years has been in the commercial space, noting that the company's federal business is relatively small compared with its private-sector work.

"We have been looking for some time to try to find a partner firm that we felt ... had strong skills in the federal space," Mertens said.

"We become their federal platform," said Mike Greaney, CEO at Force 3.

IT security skills, SDN emphasis

Mertens also cited Force 3's IT security skills and networking background as attractive features. Force 3's offerings include security assessment services, access control and identity management, vulnerability management, security event management, and software-defined networking (SDN).

Our focus is on growing revenue and growing our share of the federal space.
Joe Mertenspresident and CEO, Sirius Computer Solutions

The last technology is an area of mutual focus. Force 3 has invested in SDN as has Sirius, which runs an SDN integration lab built around Cisco's product set in Overland Park, Kan.

Greaney said Force 3 will be able to sell new technologies through its contracts in light of Sirius' vendor alliances. He pointed to Sirius' IBM relationship as one example, noting that Force 3 hasn't had ties to that vendor. He also cited Red Hat and Commvault as new partners.

Greaney said vendor partners Force 3 and Sirius have in common include Cisco, Dell, EMC, NetApp, Palo Alto Networks, Splunk and VMware. He said Sirius will "further solidify our position with those manufacturers."

In addition to growing its line card, Force 3 will also benefit from geographic expansion. Most of the company's employees are located in the Washington metropolitan area with some employees based in remote offices. Sirius' offices across the country will help Force 3 build a presence in cities beyond D.C. that have government operations.

Mertens said Sirius' nationwide reach will open a significant market opportunity for Force 3.

"They really didn't have that geographic base to build on," he said.

Focus on growth

Mertens said Force 3's senior management will remain in place, noting that he doesn't expect any changes stemming from the acquisition. Force 3 will continue to run its own IT systems as a Sirius subsidiary for some period of time. While the potential for consolidating on a single set of tools will be evaluated at some point, a unified technology platform isn't a current consideration, Mertens said.

"Our focus is on growing revenue and growing our share of the federal space," Mertens said.

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