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