Cognizant announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Belcan, a global supplier of Engineering Research & Development (ER&D) services, at a purchase price of approximately $1.3 billion in cash and stock.

Belcan provides mission-critical digital engineering services for a long-standing customer base across the commercial aerospace, defense, space, marine and industrial verticals, primarily in North America and the United Kingdom (UK).

The acquisition will significantly expand Cognizant’s ER&D capabilities, building upon the company’s leadership in the Internet of Things (IoT) and digital engineering practice areas. Combining with Belcan will also add scale and enable Cognizant to “establish a leadership position in the high-growth aerospace & defense (A&D) industry with a blue-chip client base, deep domain expertise and significant technological capabilities with over 6,500 engineers and technical consultants,” the company said in a press release.

The revenue the acquired business will contribute to Cognizant in 2024 depends on the timing of the close but is expected to be more than $800 million on an annualized basis. Revenue from the acquired business has grown at an 8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the last two years.

“We believe that acquiring Belcan will strengthen Cognizant’s position in the sizable and fast-growing ER&D services market,” said Cognizant CEO Ravi Kumar S. “Belcan’s deep engineering capabilities and domain expertise across the aerospace & defense market will be complemented by Cognizant’s scale and own multi-decade digital engineering expertise, providing Belcan’s blue-chip client roster access to our advanced AI, Cloud and Data technologies.”

Kumar continued, “We see the opportunity to immediately accelerate revenue growth and create compelling shareholder value through our combined engineering capabilities. Belcan’s clients would gain access to Cognizant’s full suite of technology services, while Cognizant’s clients across the manufacturing, automotive, energy, and high-tech sectors we believe will benefit from Belcan’s engineering skills.”

As a result of this transaction, Cognizant expects to: 

  • Significantly expand its access to the ~$190 billion ER&D services market, which is expected to grow at an over 10% forward CAGR through 2026, complementing its existing IoT and Digital Engineering practice areas
  • Diversify into the fast-growing A&D, space and marine sectors, with a stable set of blue-chip clients
  • Add a highly skilled, technical and accredited workforce and an employer of choice in ER&D services
  • Create shareholder value through enhanced growth opportunities and expected EPS accretion in 2026; expected to be broadly neutral to EPS in 2025
  • Deliver over $100 million in annual revenue synergies within three years, with additional cost synergies expected over time
  • Complement the highly talented and strong US/UK based workforce of Belcan with the talent pool from Cognizant’s global delivery network to support global programs in the Belcan client base

Lance Kwasniewski, the CEO of Belcan, is expected to continue to lead Belcan, which will continue to operate under the Belcan name as an operating unit of Cognizant. Cognizant will also establish a dedicated integration program office to drive execution against strategic and financial goals for the transaction.

“We are excited about this unique combination and the value creation it will bring to our customers, along with the opportunities it will provide for our employees. Cognizant will better position our team to capitalize on compelling tailwinds, including increasing outsourced ER&D spend, the transformative impact of digital engineering adoption rates, robust commercial aerospace demand, and favorable long-term defense and space spending,” said Kwasniewski. “Belcan’s experienced team has built a growth-oriented business delivering highly complex, mission-critical, scalable services to our long-standing customer base. I look forward to continuing to lead our team as we unite and leverage Belcan’s and Cognizant’s comprehensive services and cross-industry clientele to execute on our collective strategy, ultimately earning the role of our clients’ most trusted partner in intelligent engineering.”