Now that the dust has settled and folks have had some time to reflect on the deal, the reaction to last week’s announcement seems to be a positive, if not surprised, one. How the two biggest national players in the industry kept their big deal a big secret we may never know. But what some of the experts SDM has spoken with have said is that, in the grand scheme, it’s good for the industry.
“We’ve seen periods or cycles of consolidation in the industry over the years, and both then and now I think what it really does is reinforce the value of RMR with the investment community that watches our space,” says Jim Callahan, chief operating officer of Ackerman Security Systems, Atlanta. “The result is that the industry has always gotten stronger. So we certainly see nothing negative; only positives coming from it.”
Others view the deal from a competitive standpoint. Fewer competitors can mean more business for other dealers. But other benefits come along with it, too.
“For the rest of the industry, it’s good. It’s just one less competitor out there, and a big one,” says Bob Bonifas, CEO and chairman of the board of Aurora, Ill.-based Alarm Detection Systems Inc.
A big one, indeed. And that may become a factor for many security customers, says Lessing Gold, a partner with the legal firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP and SDM’s legal columnist. Gold notes that former ADT customers who left and went to Broadview will again face the decision of whether to stay or go. If those customers decide to choose another dealer, it may provide “easy pickings,” for the independent dealers, which in turn could add up to more business for third-party monitoring companies as well.
“The smaller dealers who pick up the business will have to have it monitored, although I do not think there will be that much of an impact,” Gold says. He also suggests that the industry may see an influx of new dealers enter into the residential market, particularly from private equity organizations.
Bonifas adds that there’s more upside for the industry that comes from the deal, but it comes down the road. As ADT begins to integrate Broadview’s operations with its own, it will have to pare down some of the workforce as redundancies are certain to occur. And that could turn into a workforce boon for independent dealers.
“There’s going to be a lot of very well-qualified talent on the streets,” Bonifas says, adding that there’s already a buzz in the industry, with some high-level people aware that they may be out of a job looking to get ahead of the curve.
“There are benefits to the independents that will make us stronger, because we’ll be able to pick up some good talent without the expense of hiring and training and motivating and developing people over 10 years,” he explains. “You get a guy with 10 years experience, that’s a gift; that’s a financial benefit to a lot of independents to pick up strong people.
“We’re going to get some installation people, we’re going to get some management people available to us; sales people,” Bonifas says.
Immediately following the deal’s announcement, some in the industry expressed concern about the competitive landscape and what the acquisition does to it. That quickly subsided as time and analysis of the deal continued. The diversity of the security industry puts the deal into perspective.
“The industry remains highly fragmented,” says Peter Michel, CEO of iSecureTrac, Omaha, Neb., and former CEO of Brinks Home Security. “(The acquisition) does not materially change the competitive environment.”
Mike Miller, vice president of Moon Security Services Inc., Pasco, Wash., and president of the Electronic Security Association, agrees.
“Broadview was 4% of the market; the marketplace is big enough. That’s not going to be that hard to swallow.”