World Wide looks to acquire, expand with new loan

Closes $5m deal with CapitalSource
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Thursday, April 8, 2010

GARDEN CITY, N.Y.—Acquisitions, expanding its sales force and bolstering its third-party monitoring operations are all on World Wide Security’s to-do list following the April 5 close of a $5 million revolver with CapitalSource.

World Wide Security CEO Ken Mara said acquisition opportunities abound in his area. “There seems to be a certain group of owners who are hitting 60 and are maybe thinking about moving on,” said Mara. A lot of time, owners want “to take their equity off the table,” but still want to work in the business. “We like to find a place for that person or their staff if they want,” Mara said. The new loan is structured to easily enable tuck-in acquisitions, Mara said.

This size deal, in the $5 to $10 million range, is a newer focus for Capital Source. “We do much larger deals, and historically this size deal hasn’t been a focus for us,” said John Robuck, CapitalSource investment officer. That’s changed in the past 18 months or so, Robuck said, for CapitalSource’s security lending group “and corporate-wide outside of security, too.”

“We think there are a lot of great businesses out there that are smaller in size,” he said. “We’re eager to talk with anyone, small or large, to see what their financing needs are, and we can be flexible in structuring those loans,” Robuck added.

Mara said that he’d previously used a traditional bank for loans. He called the due-diligence process much more thorough than he’d experienced before. The process went smoothly he said, with the help of his new CFO Mark Simson and the fact that World Wide had instituted a new reporting software (Sedona).

Founded in 1979 by Mara and Joe Ingegno, vice president and owner who handles operations, World Wide Technology Group is the umbrella organization for World Wide Security, GC Alarm, Telestat Security, and World Wide Med-Alert. World Wide provides residential and commercial alarm, CCTV, access control, and automation systems. Its footprint includes Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Metro New York and national-account customers across the United States. A long-time First Alert Professional dealer, Mara said his First-Alert colleagues are integral to his ability to serve customers outside of the New York region.

World Wide also has a wholesale monitoring station, Vision Monitoring Services, that monitors about 15,000 accounts, third-party and proprietary. “It’s a small, boutique central station, but we give great, very personalized service,” Mara said. World Wide hasn’t done much to actively promote their third-party monitoring capabilities, but is looking to expand Vision’s presence in the market: “We’re hoping to create a buzz, get the Vision Monitoring name out there.” Vision is providing services for the National Association of Installing Partners, for example.

Vision recently received approval to monitor fire alarms in New York City, and Mara expects to expand in this area as well. “There are under 20 companies that can monitor for fire in the city,” he said.

Finally, on the sales side, Mara said he’s moved completely away from POTS and is installing GSM in all new installations. It’s the future and he’s also going back to clients to upgrade to GSM. He took a number of his employees to Honeywell headquarters to learn about the move to GSM and it’s energized his sales and technical force to sell that solution, he said.

It’s a big project, he says, but it’s going to have to happen at some time, so “why not deal with it now? We look at it as a great sales opportunity to speak to our customers again.”