Vanderbilt eyes future acquisitions
WIESBADEN, Germany—Though Vanderbilt’s acquisition of Siemens Security Products will not close for another month, Vanderbilt CEO Joe Grillo says plans for more acquisitions and more collaboration between U.S. and overseas R&D groups are well underway.
"Once we actually own it we’ll start to look at other opportunities to acquire businesses that might fit well,” Grillo said.
Grillo moved to Germany in the fall in anticipation of the Siemens acquisition. Vanderbilt established its world headquarters here in February; Grillo and the new management team here are completing several steps before Vanderbilt completes the acquisition.
Founded in 2011 by Grillo and two colleagues from his days as the top executive at HID, Vanderbilt was founded to “acquire and consolidate businesses in access control,” he said. Today it calls itself an integrated security systems manufacturer that also offers integrated video, intrusion alarms, readers, credentials and power supplies in addition to access control.
Vanderbilt’s first acquisition was a “carve-out” of the former Geoffrey business, more recently called the Schlage Access business, from Ingersoll Rand in 2011. That business was rebranded as Vanderbilt. It is based in Parsnippy, N.J., and has about 30 employees.
Vanderbilt’s parent holding company ACRE acquired the well-known Mercury business in 2013. That business operates independently from the growing Vanderbilt brand. “We’ve kept that separate from Vanderbilt because it operates on a different level of the value chain,” Grillo explained.
Vanderbilt went global in the fall with the agreement to purchase the Siemens Security Products business.
This deal has many elements of a start-up business, Grillo said. It may be substantial in terms of assets, scale and people, but it’s still a carve-out deal which means that Vanderbilt needs to “replace all of the infrastructure and corporate services … [for example] IT, HR, treasury, accounting and finance.”
This week Vanderbilt announced the appointment of Jürgen Schnöbel as Chief Financial Officer.
Vanderbilt’s European business will employ 235 people. Its access control business is based in Stockholm, and its intrusion business is based in Dublin. Its main headquarters here is where CCTV, technical support and its international sales business will be based. “But we have sales people, feet on the street, in 17 different countries,” Grillo said.
Grillo said that the Siemens has been “in a holding pattern” for the past four years while it was up for sale. That will change once “we get the carve-out finalized and the separation done, we’ll continue to invest in new products and look at internal growth [as well as expansion around the globe],” he said.
“We have the possibility to bring new products from the Siemens portfolio to the U.S.,” Grillo said.
In addition, Vanderbilt will have “greater depth of R&D” because of its “major R&D operations in Dublin, Stockholm and in New Jersey. We’ll be strong in size, breadth of products and R&D capability,” he said.
Vanderbilt will also “look to integrate Mercury technology into a variety of technologies, as Vanderbilt in New Jersey recently announced.”
The Vanderbilt business will lose the Siemens name, but the upside is that it will have a “new and more focused owner—that’s good for customers, employees and suppliers,” he said.
Vanderbilt will be exhibiting at ISC West.