Down this road before, dealers cautious of IASG’s buy of NACC

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Wednesday, December 1, 2004

ALBANY - With Integrated Alarm Services Group’s acquisition of National Alarm Computer Center all but certain, IASG will have to shift its attention away from the paperwork associated with the deal to building relationships with dealers that work with the central station.
Announced in early October, IASG is expected to acquire essentially all of the third-party monitoring center’s assets from Tyco International for $50 million in cash. The deal is the company’s largest to date, and it follows the purchase of the alarm portfolio of West Coast-based Alliant Protection Services for $14.5 million in May.

With the deal expected to close on November 17, dealers who have their accounts monitored through NACC are unsure of what will happen to NACC’s Irvine, Calif., central station.

With NACC’s central, IASG now has two monitoring stations in California. That coupled with IASG’s history of closing down other acquired centrals, specifically when IASG shut down an Albuquerque, N.M. monitoring three months after it purchased it from Protective Service Industries last year, has dealers worried over its future.

“I have a lot of concerns,” said Fred Mellenbruch, president of Smart Alarm in Mission Viejo, Calif. Chief among them are if IASG will close the central station and if the communication between the dealers and management that Mellenbruch has grow to respect will change.

Mellenbruch, who has stayed with the central until now, has sat on NACC’s advisory board for more than four years.

IASG’s goal is to fold the company into its Criticom business and grow its wholesale business as much as it can, according to a source close to the deal, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The person said the company recognizes that Tyco had separated NACC from its core business, a mistake IASG intends not to repeat.

Originally started by the Schubert family, NACC was later sold to Cambridge Protection Industries. Then under control of Jim Covert, Covert sold both properties to Tyco for $1 billion.

“It’s been tough, I don’t want to have all these owners in this amount of years,” said Gary Gordon from Minuteman Security in Trabuco Canyon, Calif. But, Gordan reached out to Criticom around the time the acquisition was announced with a question that was unrelated to the deal and found the company was willing to bend over backward for him.

In fact, not only were the technical people at Criticom eager to help him, but he received a call from Tom Few, Jr., a vice president at Criticom, personally.

“I was really leery. So far they’ve been up to satisfying the customers here at NACC, especially this one,” said Gordon.

As of press time, IASG was slated to complete the deal before December.