Apx Alarm acquires central from Pro One subsidiary

Is 'now one of only a handful of nationwide, full-service security companies'
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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

PROVO, Utah—In what it’s calling the “final step in becoming a nationwide, full-service security company,” Apx Alarm has acquired a central station, along with 83 employees, from CMS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Protection One.

“We will take over control of the [St. Paul, Minn.] facility, and all of the employees will become Apx employees,” Alex Dunn, Apx COO, told Security Systems News. The deal is effective Nov. 1.

The St. Paul facility, one of four owned by CMS, currently monitors all of the Apx accounts, in addition to some accounts held by other companies. 

“The [St. Paul] facility has been primarily, but not completely, dedicated to our customers,” Dunn explained. “There will be a process over the next month or so, where non-Apx customers will be switched to another CMS station.”

According to Dunn, Apx currently serves 375,000 customers across the country. Asked if Apx would be getting into the wholesale monitoring business, Dunn said no. “That's not our focus,” he said.

Apx will continue to have a relationship with CMS during which CMS will “provide transition and back-up services as needed,” Dunn said.

Dunn expects the transition to be complete by the end of 2010. However, while its working relationship with CMS will extend for 14 months or so, Apx will have a second UL-listed monitoring station in the very near future, when it opens its new corporate headquarters here on Dec. 3. Among the buildings on Apx’s new17-acre corporate campus will be “a central station in that facility, so at that point we will have our own internal, redundant monitoring station,” Dunn said.

Apx also has more fuel for future growth. On Oct. 5 the company completed a $440 million credit facility led by Goldman Sachs. This facility represents a doubling of its September 2008 facility and includes new investors. Funds from this facility will not be used for the acquisition or new corporate headquarters, Dunn said. “The bulk of the facility will be dedicated to growing our subscriber base,” he said.

In a prepared statement, Tony Wilson, president of CMS, said, “We have enjoyed providing monitoring services to APX Alarm for the past few years and are pleased to continue serving them in this new capacity.” He said that the CMS team “remains focused on the 700,000 customers we monitor across the country. We are pleased to offer our more than 4,000 dealers a leading network of centers, in which we have invested millions of dollars in technology the past few years.”

Dunn said that CMS “has been a really good vendor to us” and that the integration of the monitoring with customer service and other Apx systems is already built in. “This is a logical next step, for us to take over control of the monitoring,” Dunn said.

With the integration already in place, “the transition will be seamless … [in this respect] it’s not that big of a step,” Dunn said. “What it symbolizes is much bigger. This means that we’re now one of only a handful of nationwide, full-service security companies.”

Check back for continued coverage of this story, which will include Tony Wilson’s perspective on the sale.