Armor sells SI business

Industry veteran Bob Shiver buys it
Sunday, June 1, 2003

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After months of trying to sell its systems integration business, Armor Holdings has found its buyer, and it’s a familiar face to the security industry.

Bob Shiver, who most notably worked for the Hawley Group Ltd., which owned ADT Security in the 1980s, and then went on to build Centennial Security, a company that generated $1.5 million in monthly recurring revenue before selling it to Protection One in 1997, was the prevailing bidder for ArmorGroup Integrated Systems. Shiver’s company, Aerwav Integration Services, was one of five bidders for the division.

While the purchase price was not released, a report issued by Morgan Keegan & Co. estimated that Armor Holdings initially acquired the business for $15 million.

“He was looking to get back into the systems integration business,” said John Mack, president of USBX Advisory Services, which alerted Shiver about the sale and served as his broker.

For Shiver, the acquisition of Armor’s integrated systems division provides a solid platform from which to grow. The division has an operating budget of $19 million for 2003 and employs 160 people who work from a total of five branches in New Jersey, South Carolina and Florida.

“This is a long term play,” said Shiver, who will operate the company under its current name for the next six months. “The kind of services we’re talking about are only going to increase in the long term.”

Those additions are likely to include making sure that each of the company’s locations are offering the same integrated services and adding its own central station in a year.

The attention Shiver’s company intends to give to Armor’s integrated systems division could be called long overdue. While an important division to the diverse company, the systems integration business never cross-sold as much as company officials intended when it first entered the market five years ago.

“They thought there would be more synergies between guarding and executive protection, risk mitigating and the stuff that we do,” said Paul Fraleigh, the former president of AmorGroup Integrated Systems “In some Armor Group markets it did do very well,” such as Latin America and in South Africa.

Now as a private company, Fraleigh predicts it will be easier for Shiver to operate and develop the business. While Fraleigh no longer heads up the group, he remains onboard as a consultant to the company.

Armor Holding’s sale of its integration business comes at a pivotal point for the company, which is known for manufacturing products for the law enforcement market, such as bullet proof vests. Only days before announcing the sale of the security integration business the company’s longtime chief executive officer, Jonathan Spiller was ousted.

In a report, equity research firm Morgan Keegan & Co. speculated Spiller was removed due to a Department of Justice investigation involving its mobile security division, slow internal growth in its product division and the length of time it took to sell the company’s services division.

Shiver plans to focus on simple milestones in the first few months of business. That includes building a good management group that can take the company into other markets. In the future, growth could come from acquiring other companies.

“I firmly believe now there are greater opportunities in the security sector than anything I’ve ever seen before and I’ve been here a long time,” said Shiver.