SAIC to Acquire Operations of Homeland Security Firm Geo-Centers

San Diego-based SAIC said yesterday it has agreed to buy Geo-Centers, a privately held engineering and professional services company with more than 1,100 employees.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Geo-Centers, based in Newton, Mass., specializes in developing ways to detect chemical and biological weapons, and in other aspects of emergency response and homeland security.

"This acquisition gives us the opportunity to enhance the level of services and solutions we offer our customers in the area of homeland security and defense," said Ken Dahlberg, SAIC's chairman and chief executive.

The acquisition of Geo-Centers represents one of the largest deals in recent years for the company also known as Science Applications International Corp., said Bob Kipps, an investment banker with the McLean, Va., office of Houlihan, Lokey, Howard & Zukin. Kipps advised Geo-Centers on the transaction.

"They're buying Geo-Centers' past performance," Kipps said. "They're buying their technical depth. They're buying their customer relationships. And they're buying their (existing) contracts."

Houlihan Lokey also has served as a longtime consultant to SAIC, helping the employee-owned company assess the value of its share price each quarter.

The transaction is expected to close in September, subject to antitrust review and other conditions.

SAIC said it also will acquire Geo-Centers subsidiaries EAI Corp. and FOCIS Associates.

(c)2005 The San Diego Union-Tribune