Two of the most familiar names in the physical security market – Pelco and Panasonic – underwent ownership changes during 2019. Consolidation continued on multiple other fronts. Security service companies, video companies and access control companies were all among the entities involved in merger and acquisition (M&A) activity during the last 12 months. In short, the industry landscape continues to transform in response to a changing market.
Here's a look at the Top 10 M&A stories in 2019:
1. Pelco acquired by private equity firm Transom Capital
Pelco Inc. was acquired in May by Transom Capital Group, a private equity firm, from Schneider Electric. Since the acquisition, Transom Capital has been working with Pelco’s management and employees to define and direct the next chapter of the iconic company. Pelco maintains its headquarters in Fresno, Calif., and has a presence in Fort Collins, Colo., near Denver, and a sales office in the New York area, not to mention many global employees who work remotely.
2. Panasonic spins of security business
Electronics giant Panasonic sold off 80% of its video surveillance business to a private equity firm but is retaining 20%, and the new company will continue to use the well-known Panasonic brand. The move is aimed at reinvigorating a business challenged by competition from Chinese companies and lower video prices. Polaris Capital Group Co. acquired 80% of the outstanding shares of the new security systems business.
3. Qognify acquires OnSSI and SeeTec
2019 began with the acquisition of IP video management software (VMS) company On-Net Surveillance Systems (OnSSI), including SeeTec in Europe. Backed by the global investment firm Battery Ventures, Qognify completed the acquisition in the final days of 2018. With Qognify, OnSSI and SeeTec operating under one umbrella, the company provides VMS, video analytics, PSIM and critical incident management for mid-market and enterprise organizations.
4. Busy year for acquisitions at Allied Universal
Security services company Allied Universal had an active year in acquisitions, beginning in April with the acquisition of integration company Securadyne Systems in Dallas. There was an additional acquisition announced in each of the next four months: Point 2 Point Global Security, Dallas, in May; security services company Cypress Private Security in June, services company Shetler Security Services in July , and Midstate Security in August. Allied Universal announced two more acquisitions in November – low-voltage integrator Advent Systems Inc. in Chicago and Vinson Guard Service in Louisiana. Also in November, Allied announced a transformational merger with SOS Security. In December, Allied Universal acquired APG Security, South Amboy, N.J.
5. Motorola continues video push with VaaS acquisition
Following its acquisition of Avigilon in 2018, Motorola Solutions continued to build its presence in the security market in 2019 with the acquisition of VaaS International Holdings, Inc. (VaaS), a data and image analytics company. Motorola Solutions paid $445 million in a combination of cash and equity for the company, which includes fixed and mobile license plate reader cameras driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence.
6. ACRE acquires access control companies Open Options and RS2
Open Options is an open architecture access control company headquartered in Addison, Texas; and RS2 is an open systems access control provider in Munster, Ind. ACRE, global provider of security systems, wrapped up acquisition of both firms in 2019, after announcing the Open Options deal in the waning days of 2018 and following it up with the RS2 announcement in the spring. ACRE’s portfolio now consists of Vanderbilt, Open Options, RS2 and ComNet.
7. Assa Abloy expands capabilities with LifeSafety Power
Lock and access control giant ASSA ABLOY acquired LifeSafety Power in September, providing a complement to the access control portfolio. The plan is to incorporate LifeSafety Power’s knowledge of power supply and consumption throughout the ASSA ABLOY access control line. LifeSafety Power was established in 2009 and has some 65 employees. The main office is located in Libertyville, Illinois.
8. Distributor Anixter going private and selling to CD&R
Anixter International Inc., a distributor of network and security solutions, electrical and electronic solutions and utility power solutions, entered into a definitive agreement with an affiliate of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) to be acquired in an all cash transaction valued at approximately $3.8 billion. The transaction will result in Anixter becoming a private company and is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2020. Under the terms of the merger agreement, CD&R-managed funds will acquire all the outstanding shares of Anixter common stock for $81.00 per share in cash. (It has been reported that a new bidder has also emerged, although Anixter is resisting – stay tuned.)
9. Alarm.com expands commercial offering with OpenEye acquisition
Alarm.com has announced a majority-stake acquisition of OpenEye, a provider of cloud-managed video surveillance solutions for the commercial market. OpenEye is optimised for enterprise-level commercial customers requiring expansive video recording capabilities, in addition to remote viewing, administration and diagnostic reporting. Combined with the Alarm.com for Business offering, service providers partnered with Alarm.com now have solutions to accommodate commercial accounts of any size.
10. ADT makes multiple acquisitions, sells Canadian operation
Another North American security giant, ADT Inc., also had a busy year in mergers and acquisitions. In February, ADT acquired LifeShield, a pioneer in advanced wireless home security systems. In June ADT continued expanding capabilities and geographic reach via Red Hawk Fire & Security, ADT Commercial with the asset purchase agreement of Security Corporation, a commercial security integrator headquartered in Detroit, Mich. In November, ADT Commercial purchased Critical Systems, which specialises in enterprise-class fire alarm, fire suppression, life safety and integrated building security solutions for high-rise properties, healthcare campuses and data, manufacturing and distribution facilities in Atlanta. In October, ADT announced an agreement to sell its Canadian operations to TELUS Corp.