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Andrew T. Gillies is Director of Communications at the Center for Audit Quality, an affiliate of the American Institute of CPAs, in Washington, DC. Based in Washington since 2002, he has also worked in editorial and communications roles at the Investment Company Institute, the World Bank, Forbes, and Vault.com. His policy-themed writing has focused on aerospace and defense, energy and environment, transportation, and financial services.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Good Luck Beating SAS

Washington, D.C. - Since 1995, SAS Institute has proved itself a juggernaut on our annual tally of America's largest privately held companies. The Cary, N.C., software concern debuted on the list 12 years ago, ranked 402 with $482 million in revenues and an employee count of 3,400. Today it claims the No. 219 spot with sales of $1.9 billion and a staff of 10,000.

Lately, SAS' big competitors have been bulking up with a string of acquisitions in its specialty--software that helps managers pull together and analyze big chunks of data. Yet there is scant evidence that its rivals can knock SAS off its stride.

"[SAS] is a force to reckon with," says David Hilal, an equity analyst who oversees technology research and covers 15 business-software companies for Arlington, Va., investment bank Friedman, Billings, Ramsey.

SAS's public-sector business illustrates. Founded in 1976 by Forbes 400 member James Goodnight, SAS (pronounced "sass") has long targeted the government customer. Today, the company draws 14% of its revenues from governments around the world, with work for U.S. federal, state and local customers set to bring in $200 million in 2007.

Full story at Forbes.com