Guardian to protect Chicago and Wisconsin now

Thursday, December 1, 2005

PITTSBURGH--Marking the first acquisition in his company's 30-year history, Guardian Protection Services president Russ Cersosimo announced the purchase of Certified Security, of Chicago, on November 18.
"Up until this point, all of our growth has been strictly through our own market efforts," Cersosimo said. With close to 175,000 accounts, Guardian is among the largest residential security companies in the country. Without the acquisition, Guardian experienced 12 percent internal net growth for the first 11 months of 2005, Cersosimo said.
The acquisition represents a shift in Guardian's game plan: It is now actively exploring other acquisitions. Cersosimo would not elaborate, but indicated that he's in negotiations with "about eight other companies."
Guardian will stay the course in another respect, Cersosimo said, because it is not interested in simply buying accounts. "We're more interested in the talent and the personalities [in a potential acquisition] rather than just buying an account base," he said.
"We have programs that are tested and proven, what we need is the talent to implement them," he added.
In the past, Guardian opened offices "from scratch" when it expanded. The advantage to this approach is consistency from the "moment you open the door." The disadvantage is that it's time consuming, Cersosimo said. If he can find the right talent, acquisitions make sense as Guardian continues to grow, he said.
Cersosimo said he found what he was looking for with Certified Security, which has $200,000 in recurring monthly revenue and about 50 employees. It does business in Chicago and Wisconsin. All employees, including founder and CEO Jay Rutili, will be retained.

For more on this story, see the January issue of Security Systems News.