GE Intelligent Platforms Sold to Veritas Capital

GE-IP to be “spun out” to focus on rugged, COTS systems and positioned a notch or two removed from prime contractors.

I used to keep a “Top 10” list of rugged COTS vendors, subjectively compiled and ranked based upon how I thought they were doing in the market. Budgets, time, and mergers have caused me to abandon that list—and I can’t any longer remember all of the melting and morphing of companies no longer in existence. Yet I do remember that GE Intelligent Platforms (I’ll call them “GE-IP”) consists mostly of a collection of the former SBS Technologies—itself a collection of acquired companies—Radstone, and VMIC of Huntsville.

It seems GE-IP is returning to its pre-GE days. What does this mean to the market, DoD and GE-IP’s competitors?

Veritas Capital is acquiring GE-IP and the private equity firm has a large and successful stable of government-related technology companies (Aeroflex and Integrated Defense Technologies, for example). Announced internally mid-September and publicly on 22 September 2015, all 600 GE-IP employees and five facilities go with the acquisition, and new CEO Bernie Anger is also the former GE-IP General Manager and has elected to leave mother GE to run the “start-up.” This is a strong testimonial on how excited the GE-IP team is to be free from corporate encumbrances if Mr. Anger is giving up the GE logo on his business card. Working at GE is serious career cred for executives.

Yet without Big GE, “New-Co.”—the new company doesn’t yet have a name—will be forced into the same R&D and tech roadmaps as its peers at Curtiss-Wright, Mercury Computer, and smaller competitors like ADLINK, Extreme Engineering, General Micro Systems, Kontron and others.

“New-Co.” is expected to continue doing what they already do best: fit in between the rugged COTS board guys and the DoD’s prime contractors by designing and customizing rugged COTS systems that meet program requirements. Unlike some COTS suppliers, “New-Co.” definitely possesses the “ilities” and infrastructure required to do long-lead/life-cycle biz on government programs. And, as a US-based company, they might have a FAR/ITAR leg up over non-US competitors.

GE-IP just announced a deeper relationship with Intel, and is one of only a handful of COTS vendors—commercial or otherwise—to announce boards and systems based upon Intel’s 6th Generation Skylake Core i7 and Xeon processors. GE-IP also has an exclusive relationship with nVidia to build rugged Tegra K1-based GPGPU products. I’m told all of this IP—plus that of GE itself—transfers over to “New-Co.” This is an impressive portfolio from which to build a new company and roadmap.

Yet the competition is fierce and relentless, and without the GE logo on the door “New-Co.” will have to work just as hard as everyone else to secure new designs.

Still, if I had to resurrect that old “Top 10” rugged COTS list, I’d still put “New-Co.” in the Top 5, maybe higher. Why? It’s that MIL-SPEC infrastructure plus GE procedures that may be the secret differentiator to assure “New-Co’s” success.

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