Universal Protection Service, a division of Universal Services of America and a portfolio company of Warburg Pincus and Partners Group, has acquired Guardsmark. The companies together create the largest U.S.-owned security company. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 
Based in Memphis, Tenn., Guardsmark has more than 125 offices serving more than 400 cities in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the UK. The company is led by Ira A. Lipman, founder, CEO and chairman, and has sought to cultivate a culture of customer service for more than 52 years. Guardsmark has grown organically without acquisition for 38 years. 
Headquartered in Santa Ana, Calif., Universal Protection Service has been the fastest growing security services company in the industry, and provides a mix of traditional security services with systems and technology. Universal operates nationwide in more than 100 locations, including Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. The combined company will employ approximately 60,000 security professionals across the U.S. and Canada. 
Steve Jones, CEO of Universal Services of America, said, “The culture of both companies revolves around professionalism and customer service. We believe that this will bring great opportunities to our customers and our employees. Ira is a legend in the private security industry and I am honored to have worked with him to put our two great companies together. I am also honored to have him join our company as vice chairman of the board. Together we will create the industry leader in the private security arena.” 
Lipman said, “The combination of Guardsmark and Universal will establish the largest American owned security services company. Steve Jones is a remarkable leader and clients and employees will benefit from the merger. Never in history has there been a greater need for serious security and our partnership delivers this for our customers.” 
Bank of America Merrill Lynch acted as financial advisor to Guardsmark. Credit Suisse acted as financial advisor to Universal Protection Service. Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP acted as legal counsel Universal Protection Service. Fried Frank LLP acted as legal counsel to Guardsmark. 
Visit www.universalpro.com for information.