Acquisitions / Cybersecurity

Hanover-based KeyW to be acquired by Jacobs Engineering Group in $815M deal

Cybersecurity is among the specialties of KeyW, which works primarily with the federal government.

Cybrary's HQ in College Park's Discovery District. (Courtesy photo)

This editorial article is a part of's Growing Industries month, when Baltimore is focusing extra reporting on the topic of cybersecurity.

A Maryland company that employs nearly 1,800 people providing cybersecurity, intelligence and analytics services mostly to the federal government is joining a Dallas-based engineering firm.

Hanover-based KeyW announced plans Monday to be acquired by Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.

The deal, which is expected to close August 31, is worth approximately $815 million and includes an estimated $272 million of KeyW net debt. according to the companies. The sale price of $11.25 per share in cash is a 43% premium on KeyW’s closing stock price on Friday.

Founded in 2008, publicly traded KeyW works primarily with federal government customers, including the intelligence community. It has a number of offices in Maryland and in a few other states including Florida, Arizona and Ohio, and it’s among the cyber companies that are located around Fort Meade and continue to do business with the federal government. Along with agencies such as the National Security Agency, these companies are home to a base of cybersecurity and tech talent in the state that contributes to a high concentration of STEM workers.

KeyW CEO Bill Weber said in a statement that joining Jacobs would “create new opportunities for research and development our customers need to enhance their national security and intelligence capabilities.”

“Cultural fit and exceptional shareholder value were of paramount importance in the selection criteria for partnership in KeyW’s next chapter,” Weber said in a statement. “We believe that joining with Jacobs will enable KeyW’s talented team to deliver even more innovative technologies and capabilities to customers.”

For its part, Jacobs has 80,000 employees, and reported revenue of $15 billion in 2018. The company said about three quarters of KeyW’s 1,790-person team has top-secret security clearances, which would be an increase of 50% in the number of Jacobs employees with that access.

Jacobs said KeyW’s team would add to the company’s cyber engineering capabilities, and also pointed to sensor-based products that could help the company grow in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sector. It also added that the companies could work together on opportunities beyond the government on infrastructure and buildings.

“Jacobs’ global reach and proven track record executing large complex enterprise contracts provide a powerful platform to unleash KeyW’s complementary rapid technology development,” Jacobs Chair and CEO Steve Demetriou said in a statement.

Series: Growing Industries Month 2019

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