COFC Examines Small Business Size Recertification After Merger or Sale

A recent Court of Federal Claims decision examined the impact on the award to a small business when that small business is acquired, after proposal submission but before award, by a large business. In doing so, the court looked very closely at the FAR clauses incorporated into the solicitation by reference, versus those that are incorporated in full text.

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Are You a Small Business Being Acquired by a Large Business? Check Your Pending Bids

Many small business clients of mine have been approached by or considered acquisition by a larger firm. Well, if this sort of sale or merger would turn a small business into a large business, the small business should pay close attention to a little-publicized change stemming from SBA’s Mentor-Protégé Consolidation rule that came out last fall. The new rule could result in a company losing out on an otherwise successful bid.

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SBA Proposes to Change When Companies Need to Recertify Size and Status for Orders

SBA recently proposed changes to a number of its small business rules, as we’ve written about in earlier posts. The same proposed rule includes a small but significant change to when a business has to recertify its size and status for orders under multiple award contracts.

Based on the number of times we’ve written about size and status protests for orders under multiple award contracts (see the related content at the bottom of this post for a sampling), this is an area in need of clarity.

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Years after Expiration of Mentor-Protégé Agreement, Joint Venture Still Small Based on Proposal Date

SBA regulations say that size is determined as of the date an offeror submits its initial proposal, with price. On its face, this rule seems pretty straight forward. But what happens if the initial proposal was filed six years ago? And what if the joint venture that submitted the proposal has since expired?

Following OHA’s recent logic, the proposal-date rule stands even in these unique circumstances.

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Small Business Set-Asides: When The “Rule Of Two” Becomes The “Rule Of One”

An agency isn’t required to cancel a small business set-aside solicitation if the agency learns that one of the small businesses upon whom the set-aside decision rested is no longer small.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO confirmed that an agency need not redo its “rule of two” determination when a potential small business competitor outgrows its size standard–even if it could effectively convert a particular solicitation into a “rule of one.”

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SBA Size Protests: Investigation Not Required Outside Of Protest Allegations

When the SBA evaluates a size protest, it is not required to investigate issues outside of those raised in the size protest itself.

A recent decision of the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals demonstrates the importance of submitting a thorough initial size protest–and confirms that the SBA need not investigate issues outside of the allegations raised in the protest.

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Small Business Status And Task Orders: GAO Provides Some Clarity

According to the GAO, a business qualifies as small for purposes of a task order competition under a Governmentwide Acquisition Contract so long as the business was small for purposes of the underlying GWAC, and the Contracting Officer does not request size recertification in connection with the task order.  And even if recertification is required for the task order, the operative date to determine small business status is the date of the task order offer–not the date the task order is awarded.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO and SBA both weighed in on the question of small business size status for task order competitions, providing some helpful clarity on this often-confusing topic.

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