A government contractor participating in an acquisition transaction must comply with both commercial and government-specific regulations. And there are numerous issues unique to government contractors that threaten a successful closing. If not identified or mitigated in a timely fashion, a contractor might unknowingly assume liabilities or fail to consummate the deal altogether. One issue involves the transfer of government contracts, which generally requires the government's consent, or a "novation." If the contractor does not novate the contract in accordance with designated rules, a buyer faces the possibility that its newly acquired contracts will be terminated for default. This could leave the contractor without the benefit of its bargain and with a "scarlet letter" on its record. While several exceptions to the general rule prohibiting the sale or transfer of government contracts have been carved-out in applicable regulations and case law, there are also structural alternatives available to the contractor that may not be so obvious. It is imperative that these options be considered and evaluated in order to attain the contractor's specific needs and expectations.
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