LAWRENCE, Kan. and ALBANY, N.Y.--On April 2, Protection One and IASG announced their completed merger on the heels of a successful stockholder vote March 27 that approved the deal. Approximately 99.9 percent of the shares present at the meeting approved the merger. IASG stockholders received .29 of a share of Protection One common stock for each share of IASG common stock owned upon completion of the merger.
Concurrently, Protection One's move to the NASDAQ from the OTC Bulletin Board should increase the visibility of its stock. "That was one of the contingencies of the merger," said Pro One chief executive officer Richard Ginsburg. Although P1 was a public company before, "We had very little of our stock that traded. It almost traded by appointment. Moving onto a more efficient market like the NASDAQ really was the next step for the business ... Now I believe we're the only pure-play alarm company on the stock exchange at this time."
Changes will also be made at Criticom, the wholesale monitoring division of IASG. Going forward, it will be known as CMS. Said Ginsburg, "We're lucky, we have two very good names, Criticom and Criticom Monitoring Services. Officially at some point in '07 it will go to Critcom Monitoring Services." The monitoring facility will also be moving from Irvine, Calif., up the road to Cypress, likely in July of '07 (see "Criticom leases new space," in the March issue of Security Systems News).
The next year will see Ginsburg setting a course for "a complete integration of the two companies," as he attempts to bring IASG into the folds of P1. Integration is "priority number one," said Ginsburg. "It's going to be a busy job, with two different cultures coming together, but there's some great people over there and we're very encouraged that they're going to like it here." Ginsburg added that the vast majority of IASG employees would be coming over to P1. The former headquarters of IASG in Albany, which took care of corporate accounting, will be closed down, as will a Las Vegas facility that handled call center functions for the residential group. "The integration will be seamless to all the customers," said Ginsburg.
Chick May, acting chief executive officer of IASG until the deal closed on April 2, said of the newly merged entity, "For the next six to seven months, they just need to keep their heads down and keep working. Once they get it down and get it merged, they need to get the investment community to believe they will grow." After that, said May, the next step is to increase the value of the stock for shareholders. "Now that we've got the synergy, how do we get the stock to pick up and go?" asked May. "Hopefully we'll see the stock move up. That's their two priorities they have to stick with."
"Most of [IASG's] investors came with the deal and we attracted some new ones," said May. "They think it's going to have a good run. I think you have excellent operators in Richard and Darius (Nevin, chief financial officer of P1). A lot of things are coming together in the next couple years to make the company do better. I would be surprised if they didn't do well ... we all really believe the combination is very good for both companies."
"This is a big milestone for us," said Ginsburg. "As many people know in the industry, P1 went through a lot of issues over the past few years, so to come out of this and move on the NASDAQ is a testament to the employees here and the work they've done. We're excited. It's going to be an enormous amount of work to see a large company like ours do a transaction like this and hopefully be successful. A lot of people in the industry have been very gracious as well, even some of our competitors. A lot of people are watching us and everyone here is up to the task."