M&A Moves: FiscalNote acquires Trump speech tracker - Technical.ly DC

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Jan. 8, 2021 11:20 am

M&A Moves: FiscalNote acquires Trump speech tracker

FiscalNote acquired the D.C-based maker of Factba.se, which became a source for media outlets seeking transcripts of what Trump said. Plus, see which Northern Virginia companies got acquired to start the new year.
Donald Trump is known for his uncensored comments both in person and on Twitter.

Donald Trump is known for his uncensored comments both in person and on Twitter.

(Photo from Flickr user Gage Skidmore, used under a Creative Commons license)

M&A Moves is a Technical.ly column where we highlight D.C.-area companies completing mergers and making acquisitions to scale their businesses. Have a submission? Email us at dc@technical.ly and tell us why it belongs in the roundup.


Penn Quarter-based political software and intelligence firm FiscalNote acquired a local tech company that makes a go-to source for media seeking transcripts of President Donald Trump’s speeches.

In the deal, which was announced Tuesday, FiscalNote acquired FactSquared, the parent company of Factba.se, an AI-enabled transcription tool that makes Trump’s words across speeches and tweets searchable in real-time.

FiscalNote, which provides tools to track and analyze legislation and issues among its offerings, sees application of the tool for the companies and orgs it serves.

“Receiving timely and accurate read-outs of comments made by our public officials is a crucial service to our clients,” CEO Tim Hwang said in a statement.

Founded in 2017 by Bill Frischling and former U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Investment and Innovation head Mark Walsh, FactSquared said the tool has been cited more than 4,000 times by major news outlets. Looking ahead to a time when Trump is no longer president, the company’s website indicates the tools can be used to analyze words of other political leaders, as well.

A FiscalNote spokesperson said the company’s technology is “very relevant both to the clients we currently serve, as well as some of the forward-looking technology our team is currently working on,” adding that the company is “excited about embedding Bill and his team with our research and development team to further drive innovation surrounding the political and regulatory intelligence we provide clients and the public.”

FiscalNote didn’t disclose terms of the deal, nor the size of FactSquared’s team that is joining, but said it will continue to be based in D.C. and operate Factba.se.

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Seven-year-old FiscalNote says it has 400 employees serving 4,000 clients. Acquisitions have been part of that growth over the last three years, as it has added to its advocacy tools with VoterVoice, expanded into media and intelligence with CQ Roll Call in 2018, and gone international with EU issue tracker Shungham. The latest acquisition comes a few weeks after it raised $160 million in growth capital and debt financing. It’s hiring for a number of open positions, including technical roles.

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DXC Technology, the giant IT services provider based in Tysons, Virginia, has received a $10 billion acquisition bid from French multinational IT consulting company Atos SE, a rival. The deal is reportedly in the early stages, and it’s not confirmed whether it will be completed.

The news follows a few years of big changes for the local corporation: In the fall, DXC announced a group of major leadership shifts, following the 2019 hire of President and CEO Mike Salvino and amid business restructuring and cost cutting.

Shares of DXC, jumped 9.3% on Thursday after the company confirmed the offer, according to NASDAQ.

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An all-Northern Virginia acquisition is bringing together two firms serving the national security and intelligence community are coming together through an acquisition deal.

Fairfax-based federal IT firm Axiologic Solutions said Thursday that it acquired Herndon-based Knowledge Link, a firm that provides financial, tech and program management for the intelligence community.

It’s the first acquisition for 11-year-old Axiologic. For its part, Knowledge Link was founded in 2003, and employs a team of engineers, architects and analysts that work on solutions in classified environments. Terms were not disclosed.

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Columbia, Maryland-based Owl Cyber Defense acquired the product line of Fairfax-based Trident Assured Collaboration Systems. Trident’s technology includes chat, voiceover IP and video capabilities, as well as functionality that’s key to applying the specific security approach that Owl takes for drones and cameras, per a news release. That will mean 20-year-old Owl Cyber Defense has a broader range of network perimeter defense solutions to offer. Owl is backed by private equity firm DC Capital Partners, and works with the Department of Defense and U.S. intelligence community.

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A pair of publicly traded sensor technology companies are coming together in a deal valued at $8 billion.

California’s Teledyne Technologies this week announced the acquisition of FLIR Systems, which holds a headquarters location in Arlington, Virginia and makes sensors and imaging technology for commercial and defense uses.

Teledyne CEO Robert Mehrabian described the companies’ synergies this way: “At the core of both our companies is proprietary sensor technologies. Our business models are also similar: we each provide sensors, cameras and sensor systems to our customers. However, our technologies and products are uniquely complementary with minimal overlap, having imaging sensors based on different semiconductor technologies for different wavelengths.”

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Finally, a bit of digital media M&A news from the last month: Arlington-based news site Axios acquired Charlotte Observer in a $5 million deal, per the New York Times.

Axios was founded in 2017 by alums of Politico including Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz, and set out with a newsletter-focused model in national news and analysis. The deal is part of Axios’ move into local news, and Charlotte Observer founder Ted Williams will be general manager of Axios’ locally focused efforts. Charlotte Observer will continue, and it is starting this expansion four cities: Tampa, Denver, Minneapolis and Des Moines.

Meanwhile, Government Executive Media Group is bolstering a local-level growth strategy of its own through a pair of acquisitions. This week, it acquired New York-based news site City & State in a deal that a news release said would offer a “springboard” into new cities. In December, it acquired The Atlas for Cities, an early-stage startup based in San Diego that is an online community and market intelligence platform for state and local government leaders to connect and find information.

The acquisitions add to the company’s Route Fifty, which offers state and local analysis the company’s brands. It also publishes Government Executive, Nextgov and Defense One.

Companies: Axios, FiscalNote
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