Linear's open and close acquisition

Sunday, February 1, 2004

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Operator Specialty Company, a manufacturer of residential and commercial gate and door-opener systems, has joined the entry systems group of Linear Corp.

Linear Corp, which offers a full spectrum of security and home automation products, bought OSCO for an undisclosed sum in an acquisition that closed on Dec. 16. The purchase rounds out Linear’s product reach within the company’s entry systems division.

“We already had a number of product ranges within our entry systems group that interfaced with gate openers,” said Grant Rummell, president of Linear Corp. “The one missing link in outdoor access control was a gate opener.”

OSCO’s product line includes models for the automatic operation of swing, barrier and slide gates as well as commercial and industrial slide/swing doors. This product line will be represented by Linear’s existing entry systems sales network, creating a one-stop shop for installers.

“We purchased OSCO with the intention of completing our full market basket,” Rummell said.

Linear was attracted to OSCO, said Rummell, because of the company’s solid business foundation and Linear’s past experience with its product. “In a past life, we owned Stanley gate openers and the same engineering team who designed that gate opener designed OSCO’s.”

Linear sold that gate opener business in 1999.

For OSCO, the partnership provides the company access to Linear‘s broad sales reach.

“We have the opportunity to grow dramatically with Linear,” said Bill Hildebrand, president of the Casnovia, Mich.-based company. “It is a great merger because we complement each other and it will accelerate our sales by being able to sell our products nationwide, which we did not have the ability to do before.”

Since the acquisition was finalized, OSCO founder Jerry Turpiano has retired and Hildebrand, formerly the chief operating officer, has assumed the position of president.

Linear, owned by Nortek, a building and indoor environmental controls company based in Providence, R.I., has acquired a number of companies over the past year including SpeakerCraft and Elan Home Systems, which were obtained for Linear’s electronic division. Rummell said this trend follows the company’s overall plan for growth.