Is Bosch buying Arecont Vision?
Let me start this blog post by saying I'm addressing a rumor without trying to perpetuate it. I have received more than one "tip" that Arecont Vision has been purchased by Bosch. Supposedly, this happened right before ISC West, and will be announced any day.
As a reporter, I did my due diligence. I called people at both Bosch and Arecont, whom I trust, and asked them whether there were truth to the rumors. Initially, the Bosch person claimed total ignorance, but said she would get back to me. Initially, the person at Arecont was prepared for the question, but said it was only because that person had already been asked the question and was aware of the rumor. That person said the rumor was likely created by the fact that the company did announce they were holding a press conference prior to the show and didn't tell anybody what it was about. Because we're in a consolidation rut right now in the industry, many people jumped to the conclusion they were announcing an acquisition. Then they simply announced they were part of a coalition of companies securing the World Equestrian games.
I was pretty close to letting it drop at that, and was going to chalk it up to the kind of rumor I make calls on all the time and that amount to nothing.
Then I got a call from Becky McDonald, spokesperson for the Robert Bosch company, based in the corporate offices above the security portion of the company. This was our conversation:
"Her: I know nothing about an acquisition or anything about that. I can tell you it's not that you missed anything. It's not announced. We look at business opportunities on a regular basis, but we don't comment on or speculate about these things.
Me: That doesn't sound like a no.
Her: It's not intended to sound like a yes or a no. There's isn't any information that I could give you in either direction.
Me: You know that's going to fuel my speculation that the rumor is true, right?
Her: That's entirely up to you. We do look at companies from time to time when they're of interest to us, but we don't comment or speculate at all on anything until we're ready to make an announcement."
Now, in my world, that roughly translates to: "Yep, we're gonna buy them, we're just waiting to cross some Ts and dot some Is."
However, it's also true that these things fall apart for various reasons and there's a good reasons why big companies like Bosch don't go just announcing things and confirming things before they're actually done deals. Maybe it's a done deal, and they just want to work out the details of the press release. Maybe it's not close to a done deal, but there are certain elements at either company who really want it to happen (or not) so there are rumors being put out there to try to push it one way or the other.
Regardless, when I get an answer like that, I certainly call the other company back and try to get something on the record. So I called Raul Calderon, vice president, strategic relations at Arecont, because I've got a decently long relationship with him and have interviewed him a number of times, and asked him for something on the record about whether Arecont is being bought by Bosch, and I showed him the exact conversation I had with McDonald.
After a greeting, this is how he replied, via email: "Regarding your inquiry below, we don't comment one way or the other."
That's not exactly telling me that I'm barking up the wrong tree. In my world, that translates to: "See, I'm smiling right now, but I really wish you hadn't asked me that question and I want to tell you 'no,' but I'm not a huge fan of lying, and I might send a press release out about this tomorrow, so I'm going to go with this."
Is Bosch buying Arecont? If I had to lay down a bet in Vegas, I'd probably say yes. But don't be shocked if this all amounts to nothing and basically they're in some talks, but it's a lot like that trade where Mike Lowell was going from the Red Sox to the Rangers this winter: We agree in principle, but there's still a physical to be done.