AE Industrial Partners unifies defense engineering consultancies Gryphon and Schafer

21 March 2019 3 min. read

Aerospace, defense, power, and industrial-focused private equity firm AE Industrial Partners (AEI) has combined similar portfolio firms Gryphon Technologies and Schafer. The latter firm was acquired in 2017 by engineering, recruiting, and IT consultancy Belcan, a portfolio company of AEI.

Founded in 1972 and headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, Schafer provides advanced engineering and technical advisory services in the areas of aerospace and defense, having designed, maintained, and upgraded leading-edge systems for the military, Department of Defense, intelligence community, and other clients. Among its high-profile work, the company has provided technical and program support for the radar system on the MQ-9 Reaper drone.

Within its technical advisory services unit, Schafer delivers analysis and planning, technology development, IT management, cybersecurity, operations, and communications services. In its advanced engineering unit, the firm provides support in military aerospace, with expertise in laser weapons, missile defense, and space superiority. The engineering unit also provides lab and scientific support to government agency clients, offering advanced facilities and expertise in physics, chemistry, materials science, and other fields.

In 2017, the firm was acquired by Belcan, a provider of engineering, supply chain, technical recruiting, and IT services to clients in aerospace, defense, manufacturing, and the government sector. Headquartered in Cincinnati, the 10,000-person consulting giant is a portfolio company of AE Industrial Partners.AE Industrial Partners unifies defense engineering consultancies Gryphon and SchaferThe private equity parent company has apparently seen a better alignment of synergies and business focus through the merger of Schafer with DC-headquartered Gryphon Technologies. Like Schafer, Gryphon provides defense engineering and technical services in support of national security programs. Founded in 1998, Gryphon specializes in warfare systems and integration, naval architecture and marine engineering, program management, testing, and logistics. The firm was acquired by AEI in September 2018.

As such, Gryphon acquired Schafer on March 15, with Big Four firm PwC serving as financial advisor to Gryphon. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"The acquisition of the Schafer assets fits perfectly within our Gryphon investment thesis of building a diversified, world-class engineering and technical services company that supports our nation's most critical national security challenges and programs," Kirk Konert, principal at AEI, said.

“Gryphon provides Schafer with additional resources and capabilities in conjunction with a culture and focus that centers around Schafer's core markets. In addition, the new Belcan organization reflects the keen focus on our core capabilities and our commitment to the engineering, tech services, and consulting segments," Lance Kwasniewski, Belcan CEO, added. 

Gryphon CEO P.J. Braden expects the combination to strengthen the firm’s capabilities and footprint, while expanding service offerings. "The combination creates exciting opportunities in how we continue to support the missions of our existing and new customers," he said.