Lifestyle chooses alternate path

Friday, April 1, 2005

DALLAS - Lifestyle Innovations, a single-source home automation company with franchises across the eastern United States, filed its quarterly report last week—a narration that revisits the missteps the company has made over the past year, including a number of failed transactions.

In the last 12 months, the company saw several deals sour. It acquired FutureSmart, a structured-wiring manufacturer, only to turn around and sell it two months later to Honeywell, and saw its acquisition of HomeSync, a systems integrator, fall through. Due in part to these dealings, Lifestyle reported a working capital deficit of $6.3 million in its quarterly report.

But President and acting Chief Executive Officer Paul Johnson is confident that the company’s reorganization will put it back on track.

“Lifestyle has basically gone through a regroup,” Johnson said. “We’ve had some missteps that we have learned a lot from.”

The mistakes, Johnson said, stemmed from a string of rash decisions while trying to establish the company as a franchise-based organization. The franchise model has now been replaced by a business plan that focuses on acquiring quality companies.

“What we’re doing now is taking a different tack,” Johnson said. “Instead of hoping against hope and making an acquisition too quickly, I’m willing to take a much more conservative approach.”

In 2003, Lifestyle expressed an interest in purchasing Home Automated Living, a Maryland-based developer of home control software. Johnson said although the transaction has not yet occurred, the companies share a close partnership.

Johnson was tight-lipped on naming other businesses Lifestyle may be interested in, but he did mention that he is currently looking at purchasing two Lifestyle franchises—a letter of intent to purchase LST Baltimore was announced earlier this week.

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