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Schneider Tyco saga continues" NY Post says deal not dead

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Schneider/Tyco deal, rumors of which first surfaced about a month ago, is not dead, according to the New York Post.

Just before midnight last Thursday the Post reported that Schneider Electric is talking to to private-equity firms about partnering on a $30 billion-plus bid for Tyco International. The report cited “two sources close to the situation.”

The NYPost said Schneider is in the process of choosing which PE firms to work with. Schneider’s plan, according to the Post, is to split Tyco’s assets, keeping the fire and security businesses (ADT and SimplexGrinnell make up the biggest parts of those two units) and ditching the flow control unit and part-ownership Tyco still has in has its electrical and metal units, (most of which was sold to last year for $713 million to PE firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. ) Tyco split into three separately traded companies in 2007.

The Post also says that “several PE firms” may go it alone and make their own offer for Tyco.

The Post story, and several other news outlets which cited the New York Post report, noted the Schnieder denies that it was in talks with Tyco or even interested. On April 20 on Schneider CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire said"There is no plan of large-sized acquisitions now and in the foreseeable future.”

But the reports point to Tyco CEO Ed Breen’s comments during Tyco’s April 28 conference call as evidence that Tyco wouldn’t object to the bid. Here’s the blog I wrote after listening to this call.

Schneider issued another denial on Friday, May, 13. Here’s the Rueters report on that.

"Our CEO expressed himself clearly at the time of our earnings report on this topic and we have nothing to add," Schneider spokesman Anthime Caprioli said, according to the Rueters report.

Meanwhile, Tyco spokesman Paul Fitzhenry declined to comment.

From the Post story, here’s what analyst Brian Langenberg had to say:

“A private-equity firm would likely pay about eight times the flow control division's EBITDA, or $4.5 billion, he said. Schneider would likely have little interest, he added, in Tyco's 49 percent stake in its electrical and metal products business that it still holds after selling the rest of it last year for $713 million to PE firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. Tyco is in a cyclical downturn, making this a good time to buy and reap the benefits when revenue and earnings rebound along with the economy, Langenberg said. If Tyco begins a formal auction, Langenberg believes Siemens, which is rolling out a global cities platform, and United Technologies, whose head of business development used to run UTX's fire and security business, could take a look. "I don't think Tyco would go for less than $65 a share," he said."

Shares of Tyco were up on Friday. The last trade, according to Yahoo Finance was 50.78.

Finally, here’s a CNBC report that has options trader JJ Kinahan, talking about why he believes “unusual options activity on Tyco” on Friday suggests that no deal is on the table.

"When it's reported a company could be bought out, Kinahan said there are usually a lot of call buyers. But immediately following the Tyco report, there were a lot of put buyers. Options traders quickly bought the May 50 and June 49 puts when the stock was flirting with its highs early Friday. Traders are now buying the July 55/60 call spread, as well as the October 55/60 call spread.

This options activity suggests the takeover story will be short-lived, Kinahan explained. If the deal fades, it's going to fade quickly. So Kinahan said the options market doesn't put much merit into the takeover reports."


ADT media summit focuses on systems integration

Thursday, May 12, 2011

ADT’s media summit wrapped up yesterday. There were a number of sessions, but the message this year’s attendees were intended to come away with is that ADT Commercial is serious about positioning itself as a systems integration leader.

I attended a number of sessions, which I’ll be reporting on later, but a couple items here for now.

First, ADT is accelerating its relationship with Cisco. At the summit, we has a TelePresence conference with ADT director of integration strategy Jim Lantrip and Bill Stuntz, VP of Cisco’s physical security business unit.

I later had lunch with Lantrip (in person) and he told be about ADT’s relationship with Cisco.

The two companies have worked together for several years, but that relationship has accelerated in the past 18 months as the two jointly develop products and services for ADT’s commercial customers.

“The relationship came to a new level because of the leadership of John Kenning [ADT Commercial president],” Lantrip said.  Among several projects ADT and Cisco are collaborating on is digital media signage. “It can be used for any kind of marketing data during normal times, and during an emergency situation it can be used to direct people to a safe environment,” he said.

ADT is also using Cisco’s network assessment tools, Lantrip said, which greatly facilitates the network assessement process. “The assessment tools help us understand the weak points of the network, which is the first step in the assessment,” he said. “And because the assessment tools are so great, we don’t have to send a CCIE [highest certification] to do the assessment, we can send in a lower certified guy,” Lantrip said. 

Are ADT commercial customers typically installing parallel networks or using their own production networks?

It’s important to do the proper network assessment, and understand how the system will be accessed, Lantrip said. But typically the production network can be used. Usually, “we can get creative with the IT department and overcome those challenges,” he said.

The goal, said Bill Stuntz during the TelePresence press conference, is to “make security one of the business systems you run on the network so you can bring more value to the company.”

We also toured ADT’s new Integrated Solutions Center in Aurora Colorado via TelePresence. This center, known in other business venues as an executive briefing center, is a real focus for John Kenning and ADT’s commercial outfit. They expect to bring in 300 customers over the course of the year to see mock-ups of vertical market solutions. They have a permanent “retail vignette” set up and a permanent “banking vignette” set up. Another room can be set up in a number of different vertical markets, currently it’s set up for a “food defense solution.”

While customers come in to see and talk to ADT personnel and subject matter experts (in-person and via Cisoc's TelePresence) about a customized solution for their particular vertical, they often check out the other vignettes, Mike Abbott, ISC manager said.

Executive briefing centers are a proven method for increasing business, Lantrip told me. “The close rate goes up, the time between meetings and close shortens, and customers are happier because the focus is on them.”



The central station of the future? Sign me up!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Got an email via the ACCENT Listserv the other day. Grace Fanzo who runs the list for the CSAA after SIA gave it up, wanted to let all us central station types know about an educational opportunity going down.

"What will central stations look like at the end of this decade--the equipment mix, the makeup of its workforce, the types of services that it provides?" The posting from Grace read. "Stay on top of this ever-evolving topic at ESX."

Now if all goes well, I'll be at ESX and I can tell you this sounds pretty cool and exactly like something I want to sit in on.

Actually, I just wrote a story about CSAA's new membership marketing campaign, which highlights the important role of the association as an educator. Here's the rest of Grace's posting:

The session, "Central Station 2020: Technologies and Operations of a Central Station of the Future," taps some of the industry's most forward looking technologists and operators to provide you with a vision. Get great input for your central station technology and a human resources roadmap.

Speakers include: Morgan Hertel, Director of Central Station Operations, Mace CSSS Inc.; AND Matt Riccoboni, Global Director of Marketing, Oz Vision.

For more information, including date/time and additional courses in the Central Station Operations Track, visit

Hurry! Discounted registration rates expire THIS FRIDAY, May 13.

I actually just wrote a piece for our Central Station Source Book (coming up in the June issue) that examined how the central station was changing in form and function and what changes were likely to take place in the near future. Look for that online in the premium section after the beginning of June. In the meantime, don't forget to register for ESX, which authorities say is going to be bigger and better than last year.


See you all in Charlotte!

ADT hiring in Knoxville

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Just arrived in Chicago a couple hours ago for an ADT media event which starts tomorrow morning and I happened to see this news item about ADT looking to hire 50 people now and “dozens more through the rest of the year” at its (formerly Brinks/Broadview) Knoxville, Tenn. central station

This event I'm attending is commercial-, government- and enterprise-business focused, but this place will be swimming with ADT folks tomorrow, so I expect I'll be able to find someone to field a question or two about the hiring spree at the Knoxville central.

From the story:

“Candace Lane, a human resources manager with ADT, said the job growth stems from ADT’s $2 billion acquisition last year of Brinks/Broadview Security, which had operated the Knoxville call center and opened the current facility in 2006.

“We’re now in the process of integrating the two businesses. As a result of that process, we are expanding our work force here,” Lane said. “We’re now supporting ADT customers as well. Knoxville now is handling 6.3 million customers in the U.S. and Canada.”


Lassoing a new business on Colorado's Front Range

Monday, May 9, 2011

Heard about an interesting new acquisition from Honeywell First Alert dealer Safe Systems. That security company, based in Louisville, Colo., has just announced it has acquired D-Tech Alarm Specialist in Pueblo, Colo. The acquisition adds to Safe Systems growing security business in southern Colorado, according to a press release.

Here’s more from the May 7 release:

“D-Tech, a Pueblo institution for over 20 years will now operate as Safe Systems. Safe Systems is excited to offer industry leading technology and customer centric monitoring services to D-Tech’s former customers.”

The release quotes Larry Halpern, president of Safe Systems as saying: “We feel it is a win for both Safe Systems and our clients. We will be able to offer progressive services and technology that were not yet available to the southern Colorado market. This will not only make security easier to use for both commercial and residential clients, but may result in tremendous cost savings as well.”

Safe Systems is described in the release as “the largest independently-owned, full-service UL-listed monitored security company in Colorado. Safe Systems designs, installs and monitors custom commercial and residential security systems exclusively for Colorado's Front Range [the most populous region in the state].”

After getting the release, I talked to Halpern and Safe Systems sales manager Tim Watson to learn more and Watson told me this acquisition is just "the tip of the iceberg" in the company's plans for growth. Stay tuned to the SSN site to learn more about this very interesting company, which has seen tremendous growth since Halpern started it in 1982 while he was still in college.


Herve Fages has new role at Schneider Electric Buildings Biz

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I saw an announcement Friday afternoon about a promotion at Schneider Electric. According to several different reports, including this one from BusinessSolutions, Pelco by Schneider officials have announced Hervé Fages has been promoted to the position of SVP, global product marketing, for the Schneider Electric Buildings Business. Fages was previously VP of global product marketing, Buildings Business for one year. Before that, he was Pelco CMO.

I haven’t been able to find an official announcement on the Schneider site, but I’ve got some emails out to see if I can chat quickly with Herve.  I spoke to Herve earlier this year for a story I did about the Pelco Schneider internal reorg.

 (In 2010 the company realigned the entire management structure of Pelco with the management structure of the buildings business—including sales, technical support, marketing, finance, manufacturing/logistics, and customer solutions. The idea was to establish one point of contact for customers dealing with Schneider Electric building organization sales, whether they were looking for access control or cameras.)

According to the report I saw, Fages is responsible for all global marketing activities for the Schneider Electric Buildings Business: product management, marketing & communications, trade shows, and training. Fages reports to Dean Meyer, EVP, Buildings Business. In addition, the report said that Fages will now act as the “site executive for the Schneider Electric, Clovis, California facility” the former Pelco HQ. In that role, he’ll be “a point of contact for the local community and will communicate on behalf of the business with its Clovis campus employees,” according to the report.


Back in town, briefly

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Just back late last night from a family vacation, so I’m still weeding through my email inbox and also getting ready for another couple of trips in the next two weeks: an ADT media event next week in Chicago, and I’ll be attending PSA TEC for the first time the following week.

Here is some of what’s planned for the ADT event: A virtual tour of ADT's new $1.5 m. Integrated Solutions Center; a discussion of pervasive video's impact on the enterprise network; a discussion/case study of a municipal wireless network protecting critical infrastructure; Food Defense: How a major food processor Is working to meet recent federal mandates to help protect the nation's food supply; ADT CTO Jay Hauhn talks about ‘What's in store for the security industr'y; and, How ADT and Brivo are helping meet homeland security mandates with PIV cards providing both physical and network access in a cloud environment.

ADS Security goes mobile

Thursday, May 5, 2011

ADS Security this week announced the introduction of ADS Aniware, which it described as a new service “that offers remote management of security systems from anywhere in the world. Check-in on a home or business with remote video, arm or disarm a security system with the virtual keypad or receive real-time alerts of alarm activity, all from any computer or mobile device.”

The Nashville, Tenn.-based ADS said that the fact that many home and business owners have automation technology “has brought the convenience of mobile control to ADS customers. The ADS Aniware virtual keypad, which can be easily accessed on the Internet or with the iPhone, Android or Blackberry application, operates just like a security system keypad and offers complete control of a security system while on the go.”

“There is a peace of mind that comes with being connected anytime, from anywhere and that’s what Aniware does for ADS customers,” said Tom Szell, ADS senior VP, in a statement.

The company said Aniware allows users to check the status of an alarm system while away from home or bypass security on a door, and also receive real-time alerts about event-generated alarm activities. “These personalized alerts are received via text message or email and allow users to decide whether action needs to be taken when events occur, like a cabinet being opened or power failure detected,” the company said.

In addition, customers can do a visual check on their home or business with the Aniware remote video feature. “Look-in live on your family, pets or employees or receive video clips or pictures to your email when motion is detected at your front door, service entrance or other vulnerable area,” the company said.

“The ability to instantly view video of a home or business from anywhere in the world is an extremely powerful tool,” says John Cerasuolo, ADS president and COO.

ADS was established in 1990 and is now one of the top electronic security companies in the nation. It currently serves over 70,000 businesses, industrial facilities and residences throughout the southeastern United States, providing a full range of burglar and fire alarms, as well as video surveillance and access control systems.


Biggest guard replacement/shrink-reduction services contract in the industry?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

So I was going through my email the other day and I came across a press release from video monitoring company Iverify. Seems they recently won a pretty hefty video monitoring and loss prevention services (LP) contract with an unnamed major U.S. retailer. I jumped right on it and got some fresh feedback from Iverify president Mike May. I'm still sort of hopeful that the reatiler will come around and release its name, but until that happens, here are the particulars written up along with some of the feedback I got from my interview with Mike:

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Iverify on April 27 announced it had been awarded a five-year contract valued at $39 million dollars to provide guard replacement and shrink-reduction services for an unnamed national retailer throughout its 550 stores. According to a release from the company, it’s the largest such video monitoring contract in the history of the industry.

Iverify president Mike May said Iverify brought big savings to the table for the client.

“The client is using a robust application that uses Cernium analytics for location-based risk assessment that triggers local announcements in the vicinity of high-shrink products. Further, with sophisticated time-based analysis it then escalates the risk profile and engages a live intervention from a protection specialist,” May told Security Systems News. “They then assess and respond to a protocol based in the actual risk. This is a best case model leveraging intelligent video coupled with a loss-prevention certified specialist that responds and reduces the customer’s potential shrink losses.”

According to May, Iverify will provide its “I Guard” and “I Control” products, delivering projected savings of $62.5–$70 million.  The suite of services will reduce guard costs, lower losses from theft, and improve employee safety, according to May.

“We think we have developed an effective forward-leaning service that drives value and safety to the point of protection,” May said.

Michael Barnes, a partner in the consulting and advisory firm Barnes Associates, which specializes in the security alarm industry, and co-sponsors the Barnes Buchanan Conference, felt Iverify had a lot to offer.

“Iverify has been at the forefront of delivering improved value in security operations for national retailers while reducing the cost of security expense,” Barnes said in a statement. “Mike May has built a sophisticated team of loss prevention professionals that remotely deliver security services at a very low cost. They have driven robbery and shrink rates down by over 50 percent at a number of national retailers.”

Iverify’s May made headlines in SSN a year ago when he was onsite doing a risk assessment for a client, a large, urban retail store in Detroit. While he was there a gang of youths attacked, and brutally beat a lone individual. May’s quick action—prompted by 10 years of law enforcement and EMT experience—very likely saved the victim’s life.


Go to Go!Control for tornado warnings

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

If you’re not tuned in to your TV or radio, you may not be aware that severe weather, including a tornado, is about to hit your neighborhood. But now Vivint is launching a free, in-home severe weather alert via its Go!Control panel for customers who live in states most affected by tornadoes. The service will sound a warning inside the home if there’s a tornado alert.

Vivint, formerly APX Alarm, a security/home automation company based in Provo, Utah, announced the weather alert service today to customers in states that the company said will include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

Over the next week, the company said, “the application will be automatically downloaded to Vivint customers who have the company’s Go!Control panel. Once the application is downloaded, customers will start receiving the free tornado alerts. In addition, all new Vivint customers in the above-mentioned states will receive the alerts as part of their service.”

The company explained how the service works:

“Once a tornado alert has been issued by the National Weather Service, the information is relayed to Vivint customers via the Go!Control panel. A series of three loud beeps sound inside the home, and a detailed warning message appears on the wall-mounted control panel. The alert will continue every minute until the homeowner deactivates the warning, or until the alert is discontinued by the weather service.”

Vivint CEO Alex Dunn said in a statement: “Tornados hit fast and without much warning. Our hearts go out to the friends and families of those who have been affected by the unusually brutal tornado activity we have already seen this spring. I am pleased our team was able to fast-track this feature and get it into our customers’ hands this season.”