Blackstone buys up Allied Barton

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07/25/2008
Interesting news hitting my email box this morning: AlliedBarton Security Services and The Blackstone Group today announced a definitive agreement under which the private equity fund, managed by The Blackstone Group, will acquire AlliedBarton. Bill Whitmore, Chairman, President and CEO of AlliedBarton Security Services, the industry’s premier provider of highly trained security personnel, said, “This transaction is a tremendous opportunity to fuel our continued growth. We have transformed ourselves into the country’s leading physical security company in a few short years and our relationship with The Blackstone Group demonstrates our management-led commitment to continued dynamic growth which will energize our investment in our people, technology and training.” I love this kind of grandstanding. "The industry's premier provider"; "The country's leading physical security company." What do those modifiers even mean? I'd like to live in a world where such modifiers are dispensed with. Chinh Chu, Senior Managing Director with The Blackstone Group said, “Blackstone is attracted to AlliedBarton’s leading market position and the strong fundamentals of the sector. We look forward to working with AlliedBarton’s outstanding management team to help them pursue their exciting growth strategy both organically and via acquisitions.” I'm a little surprised by the "strong fundamentals" comment (well, not surprised that they said it; surprised if they really think it). It seems like the margins on guarding are just razor thin. With the prices of labor, health care and energy all rising, the guarding market does not seem like a VC's dream come true to me, but I haven't studied AB's financials, obviously. Peter Wallace, Managing Director with The Blackstone Group, added, “AlliedBarton has a tremendous franchise and sets the industry standard for professionalism. We look forward to supporting the strong management team during the next phase of the Company’s evolution.” The transaction is expected to close in August subject to certain government approvals and other customary conditions. We'll get you some more on this deal. Edit: Here's what Allied's been up to recently: Their buy of Initial's guarding operations in North America Their buy of a little residential guarding firm, the Fox Group