Criticom acquires N.H. firm

Sunday, August 1, 2004

Manasquan, N.J. - In a deal that bolsters its position in the Northeast, Integrated Alarm Services Group has acquired Wolfeboro, N.H.-based Diverse Monitoring Systems through its Criticom International subsidiary in late March.

“One thing we’re lacking up in that Northeast, New England territory is a lot of contract sponsoring business. It was great to get some business there and open the doors to some dealers in that territory,” said Jeff Few, vice president of sales and marketing at IASG.

The deal precedes its acquisition of Alliant Protection Services in May, when it snapped up 17,000 alarm contracts out of bankruptcy proceedings.

“We didn’t buy any subscribers, we bought dealer contracts,” said Few. “And those dealers will simply carry out terms and conditions of that contract to us.” Few declined to disclose the financial terms of the all-cash deal.

The acquisition, which closed at the end of March, included 6,000 accounts from 100 dealers and did not involve any employees or real estate, Few said. Criticom International is the monitoring division of IASG, an Albany, N.Y.-based acquirer of retail security accounts. Criticom operates central stations in Minneapolis and Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

“They were a small monitoring firm, operating status quo for the last six to seven years,” said Few. “Kelle O’Keefe, who was the owner of the company, decided he would like to exit the business.” O’Keefe could not be reached for comment.

Law firm Buchanan Ingersoll brokered the deal.

Diverse Monitoring Systems operated a non-UL listed central, which has since closed. The company’s former accounts are handled through Criticom’s Manasquan, N.J., location.

Few said the deal is a win for dealers. Diverse Monitoring Systems’ former dealers now have the option to offer a number of new services. These include web access for account management and GPS tracking systems.

The company has been public since July 23, 2003, with more than 100,000 subscribers. Few said it’s goal is to purchase an additional 100,000 accounts.