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David Donnini

Private equity firm to acquire GreatCall

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

GTCR, a private equity firm based here, today announced that it has entered a definitive agreement to acquire GreatCall Inc, a large provider of PERS and cellular devices to seniors.

GTCR has some roots in the security space: GTCR bought Protection 1 in 2010 for $828 million, then sold the company to Apollo Management Group in 2015.

GreatCall has more than 800,000 subscribers across its cellular phone and PERS device business. The company operates its main monitoring center in Carlsbad, Calif., with a secondary facility in Reno, Nev.

“Everything they do, I think we would characterize as PERS—they deliver it a bunch of different ways. Some of it is cell phone based and comes with a cellular service as well. Some of it is traditional mobile PERS, pendant based.” David Donnini, managing director for GTCR, told Security Systems News. “There’s access to an operator in everything they offer.”

“We focus on recurring revenue service businesses, by and large—whether they’re B2B, B2C. A lot of them are technology enabled. We do a fair bit of healthcare investing as well, [along with] some technology, media and telecom. This investment hits on a lot of what we do across our firm,” Donnini said.

It was GTCR’s experience with security alarm monitoring that led the firm to GreatCall, Donnini said.

“Our goal is to continue to work with the company to continue to grow it. They have a business plan around entering more [of] the commercial side of the industry as well, providing the service to health care insurers, health care facilities, operators and so forth who can benefit from it as well,” Donnini said. “In our model, M&A is always an opportunity as well. I think there’s strategic businesses in this space that we’ll hope to acquire.”

What stood out to GTCR about GreatCall? “I think the thing that leapt out to us about GreatCall is efficiency, some of the best performance metrics and return on investment—as well as growth—in the industry,” Donnini said.

GTCR has thought of the PERS space as an interesting area for investment opportunity over the past five to 10 years, according to Donnini.

“We are excited to partner with GTCR as we continue to provide seniors with exceptional services that provide peace of mind and extend independent living,” David Inns, GreatCall’s CEO, said in a prepared statement. “GTCR brings significant resources and experience in building industry-leading companies, and we believe they will be a valuable resource in the long-term expansion of our business.”

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017. “The existing owners of GreatCall decided to sell a few months ago. So, the discussions have been ongoing for a couple of months now, we’ve been evaluating the company and working on a transaction which we agreed to [in early June],” Donnini said.

Jefferies LLC served as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to GTCR. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC served as financial advisor and DLA Piper served as legal advisor to GreatCall.

The numbers on the Protection One deal

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06/17/2010

LAWRENCE, Kan., and CHICAGO—Equity firm GTCR announced today the acquisition of Protection One, the second-largest security alarm company in North America, now that ADT and Broadview have combined. Our lead story has the ins and outs of the whys and whos, including interviews with ProOne CEO Richard Ginsburg, Michael Barnes, John Mack, and principal of GTCR David A. Donnini.

GTCR to buy Pro One: Covert and Whall back in business

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04/26/2010

LAWRENCE, Kan., and CHICAGO—Jim Covert and Tim Whall will be back in the security business following the close of a $828 million deal, announced today, where private equity group GTCR acquires Protection One.