The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Booz Allen Hamilton in an effort to reverse the company’s March-announced acquisition of data science, intelligence and cybersecurity contracting company EverWatch Corp.
The civil antitrust lawsuit, which was published on Wednesday, alleges that the McLean, Virginia-headquartered firm strategically agreed to buy EverWatch to limit competition for an operational modeling and simulation services contract from the National Security Agency.
In a statement released Thursday, Booz Allen spokesperson Jessica Klenk refuted these claims, positing that the two companies’ combined resources and 500 added team members would uphold national security principles as well as bolster rather than detract from the “highly competitive” government contracting industry.
“The transaction would accelerate technology development cycles and enable faster delivery of classified software development and analytics for national security clients,” Klenk added.
The DOJ is claiming that the transaction and acquisition deal are not compliant with Section 1 of the Sherman Act and Section 7 of the Clayton Act because once the companies were united, they arguably harbored significantly less motivation to place competitive bids on the NSA contract.
These accusations are based on the timeline of events: the acquisition was announced just days before the agency was set to release its call for proposals on the contract, thus attracting suspicion that the agreement was made in order to create a monopoly bidder.
“Booz Allen’s agreement to acquire EverWatch imperils competition in a market that is vital to our national security. Both the acquisition agreement and the underlying transaction violate federal antitrust law,” stated Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.
Booz Allen nonetheless asserts that the merger will not damage government agencies or citizens, maintaining that it would promote technological advancements for the Intelligence Community and beyond.