Allied Universal acquires, continues expansion

CEO Steve Jones talks about acquiring and growing the company during coronavirus
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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

SANTA ANA, Calif.—With the recent acquisition of Phoenix Systems & Service, Inc. (PSSI), a full service security systems integrator based near Chicago, Allied Universal continues to expand its footprint as it grows to meet the increasing demand COVID-19 is placing on security.

While the acquisition of Phoenix Systems & Service will help Allied Universal expand its technology services business in Illinois and nationally, Allied Universal CEO Steve Jones said the deal almost didn’t happen.

“I’ve got to give credit to [Allied Universal Technology Services President] Carey Boethel, as this is something that he worked on for close to a year,” Jones explained, noting that the deal was put on hold when coronavirus hit. “Carey kept up with the company and built a relationship with the president, Dan Gardner, to make sure that we could keep this going at a time when most deals probably die.”

Jones pointed out there was some extra diligence needed to assess the impact that COVID has had on the business as part of the overall valuation.

“Both Phoenix and Dan’s team, and our acquisition team had to work overtime on this thing, because it is almost like we had to do the work twice, looking at what the business looked like before the coronavirus, getting a good sense of what the business looked like during it and then making some projections on what it is going to look like post coronavirus,” explained Jones, who said he is proud the team was able to get the deal done during “the most challenging business period I have ever been in.”

PSSI, founded in 1991, has 35 employees with revenues exceeding $16 million. PSSI’s diversified customer base includes several global entities and Fortune 500 companies.

“We are truly excited about this opportunity for our employees to become an integral part of Allied Universal as our business culture and expertise are a perfect match,” said Gardner, who will become a consultant to Allied Universal. “I wanted to personally thank all of our employees for their hard work, dedication and commitment to offering superior service to our customers each and every day.”

In addition to completing the acquisition, Jones noted that Allied Universal has been busy advising customers about reentry into their businesses and how to do that safely while adhering to any local or state requirements, especially health related. While the company had job openings prior to COVID, it is hiring new staff in response to needs that were created due to the impact of COVID.

“Our customers are looking to us for our expertise on how to properly reopen the workplace, or if they stayed open, to solidify the safety of not only their employees but any visitors that come and go,” he said. Technology in demand includes temperature screening devices, cameras and integrated access control systems.

While the security system side of the business is not as insulated as the guarding side of the business, which provides some recurring revenue, Jones said the strength that Allied Universal brings to the marketplace is its ability to withstand and sustain through what can be a slower economic recovery period.

“Overall we are bullish on our systems and technology business,” said Jones. “Our long-term plan is to grow significantly in the security systems space.”

Allied Universal currently has 235,000 employees with revenues of more than $8.5 billion.

Financial advisor Sandra Jones and Company represented PSSI on the transaction.