Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Savvy Savi Thrives Within Lockheed

Washington, D.C. - Savi Technology, an 18-year-old Mountain View, Calif., developer of systems to track cargo and other assets using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, has had so many corporate parents that you almost need one of its chips to track it.

A year ago, Lockheed Martin (nyse: LMT - news - people ) bought the then-private Savi for a reported $400 million. And as Savi co-founder Vikram Verma, who now runs the Savi Group within Lockheed, tells it, the unit seems to have finally found a good home.

At the time of the June 2006 acquisition, Savi had 300 employees and $80 million in revenues. In contrast, Lockheed, a government contracting behemoth headquartered in Bethesda, Md., has 140,000 employees and $39.6 billion in sales.

That raised the possibility that Savi might get lost within Lockheed, as it had in other big corporations. But Savi has brought Lockheed veterans into its operation to both boost its government contracting expertise (its first big defense win was a contract worth $70 million in 1994) and, frankly, to raise its stature within the Lockheed organization, Verma says.

It seems to have worked. At a recent Sanford Bernstein conference, Lockheed Chief Robert Stevens singled out Savi and its business as one of Lockheed's most promising areas of opportunity for the next five years.

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