GP Strategies to acquire RWD Technologies

Both local companies trace their beginnings to the same man

March 11, 2011|By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun

Elkridge-based GP Strategies Corp. says it has agreed to acquire almost all of RWD Technologies LLC of Baltimore for approximately $28 million, combining two consulting firms that have a shared history.

Both RWD and General Physics Corp. — holding company GP Strategies' sole subsidiary — consult for a wide range of industries, from energy to aerospace. And both were founded by the same entrepreneur. The companies intend to close the deal within 60 days.

"It's combining two world-class training companies under one umbrella, and I think we're going to have a powerful product to deliver to the marketplace," Scott N. Greenberg, chief executive of GP Strategies, said Friday.

Physicist Robert W. Deutsch started General Physics Corp. in 1966 and founded RWD in 1988, two years after the first company was bought by a firm that became GP Strategies.

Publicly traded GP Strategies employs 1,900 worldwide, including more than 300 in the Baltimore area, with clients including General Motors and the Department of Defense. RWD, which is privately held and employs 430, also operates worldwide.

The two companies once had headquarters just a few miles from each other in Columbia, said Sharon Esposito-Mayer, chief financial officer of GP Strategies. All but a small portion of RWD will merge into GP Strategies after the acquisition, she said.

The Baltimore-based RWD used to have a software products arm but sold that to private equity firm Court Square Capital Partners last year for an undisclosed amount. Laurens MacLure Jr., RWD's president and CEO, said at the time that the deal would allow the company to "return to its roots as a consulting business."

The company said its consulting revenue topped $65 million last year. GP Strategies' total revenue last year was $260 million.

GP Strategies expects to pay for the acquisition largely or entirely with cash. It had nearly $29 million of cash and cash equivalents on hand as of the end of December.

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