Watch Out-Acquisition and Re-Certification may find a Firm Other than Small-GAO Decision

By: Christine V. Williams on 03/16/2018

The FDA issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a small business set-aside.  That set-aside was protested, and the agency took corrective action.  Subsequently, when it issued the new RFP, as a part of that RFP, the agency required offerors to (re)-certify their size status as small.  One firm that had previously qualified as small had been acquired during the initial protest period and could no longer certify as small.  As a result, that firm protested the RFP (found premature) and award.  As to the award, the GAO found that as a large business at award, the firm no longer had standing to protest the award.  As a general rule, a large business is not an interested party to challenge an award under a solicitation for small business, while recognizing that under very specific and limited circumstances a large business may challenge the award to a small business under a small business set-aside.  Those circumstances did not exist here.


  • When going through a merger or acquisition be aware of re-certification requirements; especially for those firms in SBA Programs;
  • Businesses that become large through novation or acquisition/change of name cannot protest either the requirement put on by an agency to recertify its size; and
  • Only under extremely limited circumstances may a large business protest a small business set-aside award.

Synchrogenix Information Strategies, LLC, B-414068.6.  Click here for case: Synchrogenix