You’ve heard the buzz. And now you’ve read the news: Serco Inc., the U.S.-based division of the international service company Serco Group plc, has just acquired SI International for $423 million. The transaction would further evolve Serco“™s North American organization into a management services business, the company said. Still untold is what this acquisition will mean to the future of both companies “” until now. In an exclusive interview with ExecutiveBiz, Serco Inc.’s Chairman and CEO Ed Casey lets us in on the back story behind the acquisition “” his first major acquisition as CEO “” plus he discusses his top priorities for the coming months, and how SI International’s President and CEO Brad Antle will be part of what many are calling a winning new chapter in both company’s lives.
This is your first major acquisition as CEO. Tell us how the deal came about and how you chose SI International.
Ed Casey: About a year ago we decided to pursue an acquisition strategy. We surveyed the entire marketplace “” companies anywhere from $200 million to $2 billion in size. We created a shortlist of those we thought had the best strategic fit and the most promise. SI International was one of those companies. We pursued a couple of companies on that list and this one is obviously the one that got to the finish line. Basically I met Brad Antle [president and CEO of SI International] in March and that was the basis for some conversations that ultimately evolved over the last five months.
Tell us about your integration plan for the two companies.
Ed Casey: As we think through transition integration, clearly the number one priority is our people, the employees of SI International and Serco. Obviously when you have a situation where the two companies here in North America are almost equal size there are a lot of people who have a lot of questions and a lot of concerns. That will be without question our number one priority: trying to design the new organization going forward and to get the right people in the right roles. If we don“™t get the people side of it right then really everything else suffers ““ our service to our customers, our results to our shareholders ““ so for us it“™s all about the employees over the next 90 to 100 days, or however long it takes us to close the transaction.