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Who will buy AlarmForce?

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

AlarmForce, a super-regional security company based in Toronto, announced that its board of directors is taking a look at selling the company. The company has hired Imperial Capital to help it with a possible sale.

The company's market cap value today is listed as $135m and its enterprise value is $119m.

I asked Richard Ginsburg, former CEO of Protection One who is now managing partner at G3 Capital Partners, what he thought about the sale of AlarmForce. He said he thought the company is well run and that CEO Joel Matlin "has done a fabulous job of identifying a segment of the market open to value-oriented products (like their new video offering) at prices that are at or lower in comparison to traditional systems with basic offerings."

Ginsburg also said he believes "a company like AlarmForce is in a great position to compete with the likes of industry leader ADT and the emerging cable and telecom companies because of [AlarmForce's] single-minded focus on enhanced services like two-way voice and now video services." He added that he believes "some of the traditional companies are in a weaker position to compete in comparison."

Ginsburg predicted the company will get "good interest"  and said Imperial Capital has "formed a great niche in the M&A sector so they are a good choice [to help out with a sale.]"

The last time I spoke to CEO Joel Matlin was back in the winter of 2010 when he was opening a fourth office in Minneapolis/St. Paul.It has offices in North Carolina (opened in 2005), Ohio (opened in January 2006)  and it opened an office in Georgia in 2007.

AlarmForce does security alarm monitoring, personal emergency response monitoring, video surveillance for resi and commercial customers. Something that’s unique about AlarmForce is that it manufactures and installs its own two-way voice home alarm systems. When I did that interview, AlarmForce had 103,000 accounts in Canada and the U.S., which Matlin told me was up from 56,700 accounts in 2006. Today the number of accounts is closer to 125,000.

“Canada is a tough country to do business in. It’s got a population the same as the state of the California, but it’s spread out over a country that’s much larger than the U.S.,” Matlin said. In addition to dense population centers that are easier to penetrate, “the perception of crime is stronger in the U.S. than it is in Canada.”

Wonder who some potential buyers might be? One possiblitiy, in my opinion would be Stanley, which expanded its resi business in Canada last summer with the purchase of Microtec Security Systems. It got 80,000 accounts and additional bi-lingual monitoring capability out of the deal.

Or I suppose AlarmForce could be a bolt-on for a telecom that’s getting into the security business. Rogers Communications maybe? Here’s a video from the summer of 2011 where we talk about Rogers Communications working (in secret!) with iControl to get into the security industry.  And here’s a story about the deal.

AlarmForce board of directors has formed a committee of independent directors to supervise the strategic review.

 

Sizing up the competition

Go small for better service and big for better pricing? It’s not always that easy when comparing central stations
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08/07/2012

“Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”
That pearl of wisdom from baseball legend Satchel Paige could very well be applied to the world of wholesale alarm monitoring. The competition is fierce and getting fiercer, raising the stakes for central stations of all sizes. Dissatisfaction over real or perceived problems can prompt a dealer to jump ship, costing a company a chunk of RMR and maybe even a bit of its reputation.

Industry veteran mourned

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Monday, August 6, 2012

We at Security Systems News were very saddened to learn about the sudden passing of David Merrick, marketing director for Pittsburgh-based Vector Security. A veteran of the industry, he was a member of our Editorial Advisory Board, a great source of knowledge, and also just an all-around nice guy. He’ll be missed.

David, 60, a Pennsylvania resident, died July 31 at a local hospital. Here’s more about his career of more than three decades, provided by Vector Security:

David began his career in the electronic security industry during 1979. Since that time he has held various sales and marketing management positions, first with Automatic Detection Systems and then Triple A Protection, a Pennsylvania-based regional supplier of residential and commercial electronic security and uniformed guard services.

In 1999, David became part of Vector Security, holding the position of Director of Marketing for Vector Security's National Accounts Division.

Active in the security industry, David served as a board member of the Pennsylvania Burglar & Fire Alarm Association, and was the recipient of the NBFAA 2002 President’s Award. He authored a variety of sales and marketing-related articles in a number of industry magazines, and was an editorial board member of Security Systems News.

David’s work has been featured in various industry magazine articles, merited three SAMMY nominations, and captured the honor twice. He was also the author of the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association’s (NBFAA) Reassuring America Program.

An obituary from the Sheldon-Kukuchka Funeral Home said David is survived by his wife Nina Mowry Merrick; a stepson and stepdaughter; a brother; a granddaughter and a goddaughter.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.sheldonkukuchkafuneralhome.com

Hottest security trend in the palm of your hand

Mobile devices top the list at a CSAA-sponsored webinar
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08/06/2012

VIENNA, Va.—It should come as no surprise to anyone in the industry who owns a smartphone or tablet: That mother lode of technology you constantly find glued to your hand is the hottest trend in security.

Vivint adds $50 million to financing; surpasses RMR milestone

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08/06/2012

PROVO, Utah—Summer-model company Vivint announced in June of that it had surpassed a $30 million milestone in RMR, putting it among the top three largest security companies in the nation. Also, the residential security and home automation provider said it had added another $50 million to its financing, bringing its total senior debt financing to $812 million.

Leviton acquires Home Automation Inc.

Acquisition broadens Leviton's offerings in automation controls market
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08/03/2012

MELVILLE, N.Y.—Leviton, based here, announced on Aug. 3 that it has acquired Home Automation Inc., a provider of home automation controls for residential and light commercial applications. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Companies fired up about social media

Experts say a successful social media plan has specific goals, and time needs to be divided between listening, creating and engaging
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08/01/2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—In the one year that Stampsco has been active on social media, staff at this small but busy fire company has had to carve out time to figure out how to best use sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

“Typically,” said Rodney Stamps, president of Oklahoma City-based Stampsco, “we have normal business activities during the day, and in the evenings come in and discuss what we’re going to do on social media.”

Warren Brown named president of ObjectVideo

Former Tyco Security Products VP says OEM business will be important component of business in future
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08/01/2012

RESTON, Va.—Saying it’s a “pivotal time” for video analytics in the security industry and for ObjectVideo in particular, Warren Brown on July 30 assumed the newly created role of president at the video analytics provider.

Cooperation spells success in Sacramento

SIAC teams with California Alarm Association, law enforcement to strengthen city’s alarm ordinance
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08/01/2012

FRISCO, Texas—Add Sacramento to the list of SIAC success stories.

The Security Industry Alarm Coalition, working with the California Alarm Association and Sacramento’s police department, announced last week that SIAC’s best practices have been incorporated into the city’s revised alarm ordinance. The guidelines include annual permit fees and enhanced call verification to reduce false dispatches and maintain police response.

Pinnacle corralling customers with geofences

The summer model company believes new Geo-Services technology could make customers 'stickier'
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08/01/2012

OREM, Utah—Pinnacle Security believes geofences could help keep its customers from straying.

The leading summer-sales-model home company, based here, recently announced the launch of Alarm.com’s Geo-Services technology. With the free service, customers can set geofences, which are perimeters around locations, using an iPhone or Android device. When they leave or enter the geofenced area with the hand-held device, they get automatic reminders sent to the device to remind them to arm or disarm their system.

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