Get your Pro One bids in today

 - 
04/21/2010
Citing a "source familiar with the situation," Rueters is reporting today that final bids are due by the end of the day for anyone interested in buying Protection One. The story says a "handful" of PE and strategic buyers are expected to submit bids. I emailed Pro One for comment, and just heard back from Robin Lampe. They're declining comment right now, she said. So who do you think is going to buy them? Here's a link to a story I wrote a while ago about that topic. I spoke to Imperial Capital's John Mack, who has interesting insight on the topic since he served as CEO of Pro One in the early days. There was talk about not counting ADT out of the game at the Barnes Buchanan conference. I'm thinking ADT is out of the question though. Not because they wouldn't like to become an even bigger giant, but because of the anti-trust concerns. If they add both Broadview and Pro One's resi accounts, I'm pretty sure the SEC would think ADT looked like a big fat monopoly. What about Stanley? Well what about Stanley? At Barnes Buchanan, Mike Barnes noted that Stanley had been out of the buying game, but this year, he said, that they're definitely "back in." Still, they just bought Black & Decker, so may be otherwise occupied with that. What about APX Alarm? They've got access to cash, that's for sure. But what would P-1 bring them? They've now got two monitoring stations, one they acquired from Pro ONe (CMS) in Minnesota and one in their new Utah HQ, so they seem to be pretty set central-station-wise. If APX wanted to get into the commercial business P-1 would bring a nice platform for that. Todd Pederson APX CEO told me in an interview that at some point APX will get into the commercial business. Here's a link to the video interview I did with Todd in December. Still, they're more focused, it seems, on expanding their in-home services beyond security than in delving into commercial security. Talking about new entrants to the market during the Barnes Buchanan conference, Mike Barnes also mentioned other possible new entrants into the market (not necessarily as a Pro One buyer) such as a defense contractor who wants more RMR or a telco or cable company who wants in on the resi business. What about the PE types? When I interviewed John Mack at ISC West, he talked a lot about the pressures to put money to work. At Barnes Buchanan, Mike Barnes said there's "lots of money looking for a home." There are lots of PE players out there who are not invested in the security market yet. But there are some usual suspects, like Golden Gate for example. Some one commented on my most recent blog that Golden Gate Capital is bidding on Protection One. That's rumor at this point, (I emailed them, but it's still early in San Francisco) but it would make some sense. Golden Gate would be both a strategic and a PE bidder. They have a very big pile of cash, and they've already made a security play. Golden Gate owns Pinnacle Security and it bought Devcon last fall. Here's an interview I did about them last fall. Further, they've made it clear that they want to do more in security. Well, if nothing else, Pro One's got to be happy with what's going on with its stock. It was at $12.83 last time I looked this morning, which is well above their 52-week high of $10.