Geo Week News

March 5, 2014

Venture capital firm now owns 60% of SAM Inc.


Geospatial firm looks to expand presence in North America’s infrastructure markets

Surveying And Mapping, Inc. (SAM) said Wednesday Austin Ventures (AV), the most active venture capital firm in Texas, now owns 60 percent of the business after making an investment to expand market share for the geospatial solutions firm, which had $125 million in sales last year, a company representative told SPAR.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Bob Huston, adviser to SAM Founder and President Samir “Sam” Hanna, would not tell SPAR the amount of the investment but did say it was one of the largest by AV. Hanna and other members of the SAM leadership team now own 40 percent, Huston said.

SAM services clients in the oil and gas, electric energy, transportation, railway, water/wastewater, and other infrastructure-related industries. Both SAM and AV are headquartered in Austin, Texas.

SAM said in a statement the investment will help expand its geospatial services, markets and geographic presence as well as the potential for expansion through accretive acquisitions.

“The company’s sophisticated suite of geospatial solution services, focus on advanced technology, experienced management team and growing geographic base have it well positioned for continued growth,” said Vernon Bryant, AV partner, in a statement. “Over the last few years, we have evaluated numerous companies tied to the ongoing and significant investment in North America’s infrastructure, and the depth, experience and professionalism of this management team is rivaled by few.”

SAM, founded in 1994, said its “leadership team” will continue to hold a significant ownership position and SAM Founder and CEO, Samir “Sam” Hanna, will remain in that position.

“We have received investment inquiries from many groups over the years and have been most impressed with the Austin Ventures team,” Hanna said. “They will be a great partner because they understand our culture and business philosophies.”

No changes to the management team or how the firm currently operates is expected, the company said.

Duff & Phelps Securities, LLC and its investment banking team served as the exclusive financial advisor to SAM in the transaction. Senior debt financing for the deal is being provided by co-lead arrangers Comerica Bank and JP Morgan Chase, along with Texas Capital Bank, Amegy Bank, and GE Antares.

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