Subscribe to RSS - Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes

Security investment and finance in ’14

New players and investors enter security industry, show interest in innovative pricing and business models, expanded services
 - 
12/12/2014

YARMOUTH, Maine—Valuations, at least for smaller security deals, were generally higher in 2014 compared to 2013. That is one area of agreement among three security finance and investment experts who participated in a Security Systems News virtual round table.

Barnes Associates wholesale monitoring survey finds accounts up 19 percent

Michael Barnes suspects cableco/telecom influx could be behind ‘unprecedented growth’
 - 
03/12/2014

YARMOUTH, Maine—Much can be gleaned from the fourth annual Barnes Associates/SSN/CSAA wholesale monitoring survey, but if anything stands out about 2013, it’s that overall growth was gaudy.

Credit scores and attrition: Correlation?

 - 
Monday, July 15, 2013

The quest to reduce the dreaded attrition rate remains a high priority for anyone in the monitoring space, and companies continue to explore new ways to predict and prevent cancellations. Companies don’t just track attrition rates; they look for clues, like usage patterns, that could yield information about whether certain customers may be more prone to stay or go. 

While usage patterns remain a valuable tool for evaluating customers and forming effective business strategies (conventional wisdom says upsell to active users, and reduce prices to the less engaged), it’s not the only predictor companies use. There is also a significant correlation between credit scores, or Beacon scores, and attrition rates, according to Michael Barnes, a partner in the consulting and advisory firm Barnes Associates, who in a response on the CSAA’s Accent forum, said his firm reviewed data on over 2 million accounts. Here’s a bit of what he had to say:

“Generally speaking, the correlation changes over four ranges of scoring. Below 600, the statistical experience is very bad. That is, the accounts have a very high cancellation rate. Between 600 and 650 the results improve dramatically, with a general inflection point around 620+/-, which is why so many dealer programs (and, in some cases credit facilities) have restrictions around this area of scoring.”

Barnes added that scores above 700, in terms of attrition and retention, tend to behave the same as scores around 800. Scores in the ballpark of 650 tend to have poor cumulative performance, with the rates of cancellation almost twice as high over the first four years, Barnes notes. Unsurprisingly, rates of “infant mortality’—cancellations within the first year of existence—were exceedingly high among those with sub-650 Beacon scores, according to Barnes’ data.

While the data sample is large enough to provide a thorough understanding of the relationship between credit scores and attrition, Barnes points out that some qualifications are needed, since a slew of factors can create exceptions. Some of these key variables include installation fees, services provided, pricing and payment method, and even geographic location.

The above graph, made for SSN in 2009 by the Edmonds Group, also charts the correlation between attrition rates and Beacon credit scores. 

Steve Baker, other industry vets launch GHS Interactive Security

LifeLine Security is acquired as platform for growth, Topspin is equity partner, Barnes Associates advised deal
 - 
05/22/2013

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Industry veteran Steve Baker, who has served in executive roles at ADT, Monitronics and Westec, announced May 22 that his corporation, GHS Interactive Security, has acquired LifeLine Security and Automation as a platform for growth.

Barnes Associates/SSN wholesale monitoring survey finds accounts up nearly 11 percent in 2012

Michael Barnes calls results 'very positive indicator' for industry
 - 
03/13/2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—The wholesale monitoring industry posted surprisingly strong growth in 2012, with accounts increasing 10.7 percent and average RMR for alarm companies following nearly in lock step, according to a new survey led by Barnes Associates.

Glow or glower? Readers chart industry’s prospects for 2013

 - 
02/26/2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—In mid-December, The Wall Street Journal defied doomsayers and the pending fiscal cliff with an article headlined “Economy Poised to Nudge Ahead in 2013.” The Journal predicted that the U.S. recovery would gain a bit of steam through the year, ushering in a period of more normal growth.

Martha talks to Mike Barnes: RMR growth rate, other metrics revealed

 - 
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I had a chance today to talk to Mike Barnes about last week's Barnes Buchanan Conference. Below are some highlights of our conversation.

Interested in more insight on RMR and related growth? Check out the April issue of SSN for the 3rd annual Special Report of the SSN/Barnes Associates Wholesale Monitoring study. The study will also be available online on www.securitysystemsnews.com, and featured in a future Thursday morning newswire

The SSN/Barnes Associates Wholesale Monitoring study tracks the number of accounts monitored by the wholesale monitoring segment. As Barnes says, "There has always been great clarity on the performance of the top players, which on a combined basis have an approximate 51 percent market share." The challenge has always been to determine what is happening with the many thousands of smaller alarm companies that comprise the other half of the industry—this survey sheds light on that question. This year the response rate was even greater, thanks in part to the CSAA Contract Monitoring Council, which is a new co-sponsor of the survey.

Martha: What's the Barnes outlook for 2013?

Mike: We are bullish on 2013.  Even with the economy still sputtering and some remaining challenges in the commercial segment, I think 2013 is likely to be better than most people are predicting.
 
Martha: What highlights can you share about the categories you generally hit on: growth, structure, operating metrics, market values?

Mike: The big surprise for 2012 was how much the industry grew RMR and related revenues. Our research indicates that these revenues grew by an astounding 8 percent. Quite a bit higher than expected. Overall industry revenues were flat, due to the decline in installation revenues. That is, installation revenues were down and RMR was up. This dynamic appears to be a combination of price shifting, where lower average-installation fees are exchanged for higher ongoing service charges, and continued shrinking revenues in the large commercial systems segment.

Martha: What was the most surprising metric this year?

Mike: By far the growth in industry RMR was the surprise metric. Additionally, it appears that this growth had a nice balance, with about half coming from higher average RMR per system, and the other half from a net increase in the number of systems.
 
Martha: Your bubble charts are always an interesting part of your Industry and Market Overview presentation. I heard there are now green bubbles on the bubble chart? What can you tell me about that? What new information do the new greeen bubbles bring to light?

Mike: Our bubble charts are a great way to graphically view acquisition activity. Each bubble denotes a transaction on a time-and-valuation multiple basis, with the size of the bubble indicating the amount of RMR involved. Basically you see three variables in a simple graphic. HIstorically, we have also added a fourth variable by shading the bubbles one of two colors to indicate the type of buyer, either an existing industry player or a new player buying a platform company. This illustrates how active each type of buyer is, and highlights the fact that new players entering the industry typically pay higher relative prices due to a combination of their selecting the better performers and paying a premium for their highly selective requirements. 

This year we introduced a third color (green) which reflected transactions where only accounts were sold. Take the recent sale of a block of accounts by Pinnacle to Monitronics: As one would expect, the pattern becomes clear that accounts and their associated RMR have a finite value and trade within a relatively tight range, which is, of course, supported by the activity in the dealer program market. It also highlights that fact that when the market trades security alarm companies above this range, it is typically because of the account-origination capability. That is, the ability of the company to originate new customer accounts and related RMR at a cost and volume that is accretive to value. 

It is often overlooked that when a company trades for a high multiple, say 45 times RMR, this is usually not an indication that the RMR sold was worth that amount.  Rather, it is probably the case that the existing account base was valued at something in the 30s as a multiple of RMR, and the difference is predominantly reflecting the value of the account generation engine. This helps bring better clarity to the valuations realized by Vivint and other higher growth companies, and ultimately help buyers and sellers have a more productive conversation when referencing market transactions in their negotiations.
 
Martha: Other than the "must attend" Barnes' Industry and Market Overview, were there any notable educational sessions or talks?

Mike: We were extremely proud of this year’s conference, both because we had both the right attendees and great content.  Our company presentations provided great insight into several players that are using new and innovative business models. Protect America is a great example. They are using a “direct to consumer” model that allows them to close the sale over the phone or internet, and to ship pre-programed and configured systems which are then installed by the consumer.  It was amazing to hear how successful and large the company has become. Our C-Suite Roundtable was also notable with 4 of the top executives of major companies, including ADT, discussing trends and issues associated with the industry. These segments, combined with ones focusing exclusively on the capital markets and the largest deals that occurred in 2012…and, of course our industry overview…really gave our attendees a great conference.

Barnes Buchanan conference to kick off Feb. 7

 - 
01/29/2013

PALM BEACH, Fla.—The 18th annual Barnes Buchanan Security Alarm Conference is scheduled for Feb. 7-9 at The Breakers resort.

Following the money: Schmidt, Barnes and Christhilf talk deals, valuations and taxes

Experts reflect on 2012, share predictions for 2013
 - 
12/12/2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—A number of big deals happened in 2012: the split-up of Tyco, the acquisition of Vivint and the creation of Securadyne, to name a few.

Putting the Vivint sale in perspective

Michael Barnes and George De Marco on the $2 billion valuation of Vivint, whether its growth plans are realistic, and its plans for expansion into commercial security
 - 
09/19/2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—News today that the Blackstone Group, a $180 billion private equity firm, will acquire home automation and security company Vivint in an agreement worth more than $2 billion is another “huge shot of support for the industry,” Michael Barnes, founding partner of Barnes Associates, a consulting and advisory firm that specializes in the security alarm industry, told Security Systems News.

Pages