Partners, L.P. (“Highlander”), a leading private investment firm, recently announced the acquisition of Liteye Systems, Inc. (“Liteye” or “the Company”). Liteye is a multi-mission defense company that develops, integrates, and manufactures Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“C-UAS” or “Counter-UAS”) designed to neutralize hostile drone threats. The rise of drone activity has created an immediate need for sophisticated C-UAS systems and solutions to protect against threats to people and critical civilian and military infrastructure, and to conduct military and national security operations.
Founded in 2000 with a focus on selling thermal cameras and head-mounted displays to military and law enforcement agencies, Liteye in 2015 shifted its focus to C-UAS technologies. The Company has since grown into a leading manufacturer and integrator of C-UAS systems that detect, identify, track, and disrupt hostile unmanned aircraft. The Company operates as an integrator of best-in-class technology through exclusive strategic partnerships, therefore offering highly configurable and hardware-agnostic systems that are customized to fit mission objectives and customer requisites. Additionally, this modular approach eliminates hardware dependencies and facilitates technology upgrades to ensure that Liteye’s systems are always equipped with the latest cutting-edge technologies. The Company has long-term relationships with U.S. and international government agencies.
Earlier this year, Highlander formed High Point Aerotechnologies LLC (“High Point” or “High Point Aerotechnologies”), a division established specifically to focus on and pursue the rapidly evolving C-UAS and UAS industries. The objective of High Point is to create a global leader in these high-growth categories through the acquisition of established operating companies, emerging technologies, and industry experts. Under the leadership of former senior special ops officer Jim Gavrilis, High Point has quickly made significant progress. Today the High Point team consists of a variety of leaders with backgrounds in defense, government, and technology, each of whom will assist Liteye in its growth initiatives.
Kenneth Geyer and Tom Scott, co-founders of Liteye commented, “The Liteye executive team is thrilled to join forces with Highlander to continue the growth of our multi-mission C-UAS platforms, built around protecting lives and critical infrastructure. We feel that the need for advanced C-UAS is more pressing than ever, and we believe that High Point and the broader Highlander team bring the necessary government and military relationships, industry experience, and long-term financial approach to support us in driving Liteye and the C-UAS industry forward.”
“We have dedicated substantial resources to exploring opportunities across the unmanned aircraft spectrum,” commented Ben Slater, Partner at Highlander. “Liteye has emerged as a clear leader in the nascent and critical C-UAS space, and we believe that Highlander and High Point are well-equipped to support Liteye as it continues building on its strategic position as a provider of leading technology. We anticipate that Liteye will be the first step in establishing a larger platform and intend to pursue additional M&A in the space.”
Jeff L. Hull, President and CEO of Highlander, added, “Despite meaningful private and public investment, many of today’s C-UAS solutions lag advancements in offensive drone technology. However, Liteye’s system of systems approach and technology provide a leading solution to the market compared to many other C-UAS platforms. Needless to say, we are impressed with what Kenneth, Tom, and the rest of the Liteye team have built and we look forward to working together with them to take the Company to new heights.”
The Forbes M+A Group acted as financial advisor and Holland & Hart LLP served as legal counsel to Liteye. Highlander was represented by Baker McKenzie as legal counsel.