Monitoring stations merge call center ops

Thursday, July 1, 2004

FREEPORT, N.Y. - The New York Merchants Protective Company, one of nine central stations approved for fire alarm monitoring in New York City, and wholesale monitoring firm Nationwide Digital Alarm Services entered into an agreement to merge operations in mid-March.

The two companies now share a new UL approved central station on Long Island, on the site of a former bank that is outfitted with GE’s MASTerMind system from Monitoring Automation Systems. But each company retains their individual businesses.

“For everyone’s benefit we agreed to merge the central stations together,” said Wayne Wahrsager, president of New York Merchants. Nationwide president Peter Deck declined to discuss the deal.

The deal opens the door for the two companies to share central station costs. It also enables New York Merchants to enter into the nationwide monitoring arena, as it enables Nationwide the ability to offer services such as voice monitoring, video monitoring and GPS tracking to its dealer base. Nationwide brings to the deal 50,000 accounts, located throughout the U.S.

The New York Merchants Protective Company provided local monitoring services for approximately 190 alarm companies in the New York metropolitan area, handling 16,000 accounts located within the five boroughs of New York City, Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island and parts of New Jersey. The majority of its business is commercial.

Despite the coming together of central station operations, Wahrsager remains president of New York Merchants while Deck remains president of Nationwide, based in Brooklyn. Wahrsager will handle back-office duties such as billing, collections and monitoring and Deck will handle customer service and marketing activities. Nationwide will not reduce its headcount, according to Wahrsager.

The two men, who knew each other professionally, began discussions back in November, when a mutual friend introduced the idea of a merger. Wahrsager dismissed the notion that the deal would lead to a true merger, operating as one entity. “I don’t believe so. It’s not in anyone’s plans.”

New York Merchants’ new central station was purchased in October, and it took about three months to get outfitted and approved, Wahrsager said. Previously, the company operated a center in Valley Stream, also on Long Island, and Nationwide’s center was in Brooklyn.

“I haven’t seen it (a similar deal) take place in the marketplace yet. But my vision is that synergies like this will take place over the course of the next few years as the market shrinks,” said Wahrsager.