Allied Universal wants to offer security technology in every market

The $4.5b merger creates largest manguarding company in North America
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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. and SANTA ANA, Calif.—With the Aug. 1 closing of the $4.5 billion AlliedBarton/Universal Services of America deal, CEO Steve Jones is turning to his next task: ensuring that Allied Universal offers security technology in every market where the company has a presence.

As Jones pointed out to Security Systems News, that’s a lot of markets; Allied Universal is now the largest security manguarding company in North America with a footprint that includes “every major market and every major submarket.”

While remote video monitoring and other electronic security are already available from Universal in several markets, there are many markets that do not yet have those services available.

Jones said that former Allied executives and staff are onboard with the technology expansion plan, as are Allied Universal’s financial backers, Wendel and Warburg Pincus.

“They’re two of the largest PE firms in the world. With their backing, our ability to execute on acquisition opportunities is tremendous,” Jones said. “It is absolutely our plan to make sure we grow in the technology space as fast as we grow in the manguarding space,” he added.

For the past three years, Universal has offered remote video monitoring from its CSAA Five Diamond call center in Dallas. It currently protects “thousands of sites” with remote video monitoring, Jones said.

Since the merger was announced, Allied executives and several key customers have visited Dallas to learn more about the service, he said. “Over the next six months to a year, we’ll introduce this to all AlliedBarton customers,” he said. “We anticipate a tremendous amount of interest and success [with remote video monitoring],” he said.

“We believe strongly that the future is in integrated security solutions,” Jones said. You offer customers a host of services that include manguarding and electronic security and tailor the offering to their needs, he said.

Jones said that Allied Universal is actively seeking acquisitions of security installation companies that will enable Allied Universal to offer installation and technology in all markets. In markets where acquisitions are not available “to help us get started, we’ll get into it greenfield [starting up an installation business],” he said.

Last month, Universal announced that it was working with robot manufacturer Knightscope to offer robot “machine as a service." See story here. Jones said Universal has been working with Knightscope for a year and that it’s had success tying remote video monitoring into the robot patrol. It can be a great solution in certain applications, he said. For example, “in some sites and facilities that go dark after hours, you can use a robot to patrol and manpower to follow up on emergencies.”

Asked about the vetting of guards, Jones said Allied Universal background checks every employee and meets all state requirements, which differ across the country. “If we have an issue, we take it very seriously and we act,” he said.

Allied Universal will participate in a national security appreciation week, originally created by AlliedBarton, the third week in September.

Steve Jones joined Universal in 1996, which at the time was a $12 million family business. “I was one of the first executives from outside of the family. In 1999, the owner wanted to sell the business, and Jones led a management buyout. The company had revenues of $24 million in 2000, he said.

First announced on May 4, the merger creates a company with 140,000 employees, annual revenue of $4.5 billion and EBITDA of $440 million. The deal is expected to generate $100 million in synergies.

Bill Whitmore, former CEO of AlliedBarton, is the company’s chairman. AlliedBarton was a portfolio company of Wendel, and Universal was a portfolio company of Warburg Pincus. Following the close, Wendel received 33 percent of Allied Universal and $388 million in cash.