C.O.P.S. acquires ACM to increase western reach

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.--C.O.P.S. Monitoring localized its reach this January by adding ACM of Phoenix, a wholesale central station, to its family. The addition of accounts and services is part of the company's plan for a larger presence.
"This will be our grab stake into the West. We are not known as well out there," said Don Maden, vice president of C.O.P.S. Already, the company has a facility in N.J. and representatives that cover Arizona, Texas and California, but is "looking to build a comparable type of central station presence west of the Mississippi."
In the summer of 2004, C.O.P.S. opened a monitoring center in Scottsdale, Ariz., to increase regional presence. Shortly after that it added a location in Grapevine, Texas. The company's push continues with the purchase of ACM for an undisclosed amount.
Although competitors in the western market, the two companies have had a long alliance that could better serve the combined dealer base. "It is more than just a take over and roll up, it is about growing both organizations into a stronger service provider to the dealers in the western marketplace," Maden said.
ACM opened in 1972 as a retail alarm business and shifted to wholesale monitoring in 1985. But, "It is time to start another chapter in our lives," said Karen Kohn, who with husband Bob owned the facility that has been in the same location since its inception and has had many of the same dealers for more than 12 years.
"We had to make sure that we had a home for our customers that would service them the way they have been accustomed to," Kohn said, and they felt C.O.P.S. could continue that business practice.
The central will carry on ACM's services, such as video monitoring, to its 270,000 accounts nationwide, with a "goal to return time to dealers, and make the relationship with the dealer seamless." By merging the strengths of both companies, "the customers will have even more services and everybody is going to be real happy with this," Kohn said.
"Analyzing procedures at another company helps you looking outside of the box. Some of their procedures could help dealers in the fight against false alarms," Maden added.
ACM's central station will close in the first quarter of this year and the company's employees will move to C.O.P.S.'s facility in Scottsdale. Maden estimated that the integration process would take roughly six months. We are "certainly not going to rush anything because you are trying to dovetail two different organizations and bring the best out as a result," he said.
However, by adding ACM, a local presence in the region, the company will have options for future growth.
"We have done a handful of acquisitions, but they are not our main focus," said Maden. "If one comes along and it complements the business, well, then we try to make it happen."