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GP Strategies buying RWD Technologies for $28M

GP Strategies Corp. and RWD Technologies LLC, two consulting companies founded 22 years apart by the same entrepreneur, will combine under a $28 million deal announced last week.

RWD, founded in 1988, is located in the Research and Technology Park at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Catonsville. The company also has offices in the United Kingdom, Canada and Colombia.

The deal is expected to close within 60 days. GP Strategies said it expects to pay for the acquisition using cash on hand, but could borrow from its $35 million revolving credit facility if necessary.

Elkridge-based GP Strategies provides sales and technical training, e-learning, management consulting and engineering services. RWD is a provider of products and

services in areas of training, consulting and organizational performance.

“On the one hand there is a bit of overlap, but the customers they serve are complementary,” said Kevin Liu, an analyst with B. Riley & Co. LLC in Los Angeles.

The companies were both founded by Robert W. Deutsch, who still serves as chairman of RWD Technologies’ board of directors.

Deutsch “spent most of his career helping businesses and other organizations become more successful by improving their human and operational performance,” Laurens MacLure Jr., president and CEO of RWD, said in a prepared statement. “The combination of RWD and GP will result in a formidable performance improvement consulting firm.”

RWD Technologies generated more than $65 million in consulting revenue in 2010. The company is privately held.

GP Strategies has 1,892 employees going into the merger. The company reported $259 million in revenue for 2010 according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. For the year, GP Strategies reported a $12.7 million profit, compared to a $1.19 million loss in 2009.

“At the end of the day, it looks like GP Strategies got some complementary assets at a great price,” Liu said. “We like the deal.”

Shares of GP Strategies gained 37 cents, or 3 percent, Friday to close at $12.63 in Nasdaq trading.