Geo Week News

August 22, 2013

Private equity group to merge geospatial firms AeroMetric, Photo Science


Two merged businesses to get rebranding as single, $100 mil’ entity

Two of the nation’s largest geospatial services and aerial mapping firms – AeroMetric, Inc. and Photo Science Inc. – are merging operations into a single entity.

Arlington Capital Partners, a Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm, which acquired AeroMetric in August 2012, is purchasing Lexington, Ky.-based Photo Science, according to Kurt Allen, Photo Science vice president.

Terms of the transaction, including a purchase price, is not being disclosed. Allen told SPAR the two companies are operating as separate entities during the integration of their operations into a new, unnamed single entity.

“We’re in integration hell at the moment,” Allen said. The combined entity will have roughly 500 employees and about $100 million in annual sales.

Headquartered in Sheboygan, Wis., AeroMetric provides digital aerial image acquisition, lidar airborne terrain mapping, photogrammetric mapping, GIS, remote sensing and other related geospatial production services to offer digital and cloud-based deliverables for federal, state and local government as well as defense and commercial clients. With about 300 employees, it calls itself the nation’s largest mapping entity.

Founded in 1974, Photo Science is a geospatial services provider specializing in aerial data acquisition (imagery and lidar), photogrammetric mapping, mobile mapping, remote sensing, GIS systems integration, and GPS surveying services for federal, civil, and private sector clients from nine office locations. The company has about 200 employees.

AeroMetric CEO, Patrick Olson will be the CEO of the new merged entity, Allen said, while Photo Science owner and CEO Mike Ritchie, who purchased the company in 1991, will be COO.

Photo Science dissolved as a Kentucky corporation on Aug. 6.

Allen said all major clients have been contacted regarding the merger with the feedback “very positive.”

Allen said the merged entity will have 20 aircraft and a full array of remote sensors including lidar, radar, multispectral, optical and thermal infrared, which he said “offers lots of opportunities to expand margins.”

AeroMetric Vice President of Transportation Tim Stagg also confirmed the news to SPAR but declined to provide additional details until a formal statement was released. A request for additional from Peter Manos, managing partner at Arlington Capital, was not immediately returned.

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