Colorado Springs-based defense contractor Braxton Science & Technology Group will be sold for $300 million to Virginia-based engineering and construction giant Parsons under a deal announced Thursday.
The purchase of Braxton from O’Neil Group will be the second major acquisition of a Colorado Springs defense contracting company by Parsons in two years; it bought Polaris Alpha for $489 million in 2018. The latest deal is expected to be completed by year’s end. Parsons plans to retain all 370 Braxton employees, including 200 in Colorado Springs. That will give Parsons a local staff of more than 600.
O’Neil Group acquired a majority interest in Braxton from its founders in 2008 and moved its offices to Colorado Springs from California, adding more than 300 employees and growing revenue by 25 times during the 12 years it has owned the company. The family-owned investment company spent about $30 million to acquire Braxton, which will yield investors a return of about nine times the amount they invested, Kevin O’Neil, the group’s owner and CEO, said Thursday in a news release.
“The combination of Braxton’s leading defense capabilities, and decades of customer relationships, combined with Parsons’ global scale, cross-industry experience and disruptive mindset creates a leading space technology provider,” Braxton President Ken O’Neil said Thursday in the release.
“Parsons is a large company with the operational agility of a smaller organization, which attracted us to them and gives us confidence in our future success together.”
Braxton specializes in satellite operations, ground system automation, flight dynamics and spacecraft and antenna simulation, producing more than 50 space-mission hardware and software products for the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. intelligence agencies. The company will be merged into Parsons’ space and geospatial space solutions operations, which also include the former Polaris Alpha. Braxton is expected to generate $133 million in revenue next year.
“The addition of BTSG (Braxton) complements our space portfolio, increases our product offerings in high-growth markets, and adds critical intellectual property that complements and expands our capabilities for the U.S. Air Force, Space Force and research laboratories,” Parsons CEO Chuck Harrington said in a release.
O’Neil Group said in the release that it has agreed to sell Braxton as part of a new strategy to “shift its resources to focus on continued growth and investment in businesses, real estate and the community in which it operates.” Kevin O’Neil said the investment group sought bids this year from Parsons and three other bidders and determined Parsons “was the best fit for our employees.”
Marcus Featherston, Parsons senior vice president of space, said the company is always looking at potential acquisitions in defense and intelligence technology industry and had its eye on Braxton for several years. He said Parsons will “continue to invest in the space industry, which is definitely a bright spot for the future with the growth of Space Force and the space opportunity, which was a major driver of this transaction.”
O’Neil Group plans to reinvest the money from the transaction into local defense contractors in a deal expected to be completed by year’s end, Kevin O’Neil said. The investment company owns two other defense contractors, a medical waste disposal firm, Peak Lighting and 12 office buildings in or near downtown.
O’Neil Group developed the Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation, a five-building business park on the eastern fringe of downtown Colorado Springs that houses Braxton and other space and cybersecurity companies.