ACRE to acquire RS2 Technologies

CEO Joe Grillo speaks with SSN about the deal and path forward
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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

LAS VEGAS—ACRE, a global security company, announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire RS2 Technologies in Munster, Ind., a deal that enhances ACRE’s strategic expansion plans for strengthening its access control business and product portfolio.

“RS2 is a well-known brand, and rapidly growing company that is well known for its technical expertise on the software side with a very good reseller network,” ACRE CEO Joe Grillo told Security Systems News. “The fact that they are a Mercury partner reinforces our opportunity to be a bigger player in the Mercury ecosystem of companies and help to push that open message in the marketplace. Plus, it gives us additional geographic strength and reinforces a lot of the vertical markets that we see are growing in the industry, so we are quite happy to add RS2 to the ACRE family.”

RS2, founded in 1998, has long prided itself on the use of an open architecture platform approach in order to provide a broad product offering working with a multitude of technology partners. Grillo pointed out that RS2 goes the extra mile to address customer concerns and satisfy customer needs, noting that RS2 has stayed in tune with the demands of the industry, listening to VOC from both end users and installers.

“This is a great opportunity for RS2 to further expand our customer base and leverage the benefits of being a part of a broader ACRE portfolio,” David W. Barnard, director of Dealer Development/Partner, said in the announcement. “We are excited to be joining the ACRE family and this will help push RS2 to the next level, and more quickly achieve our 2025 growth goals.”

Approximately 40 RS2 employees will be joining the ACRE team, and will continue to run the office in Muncie, which is about 40 miles East of Chicago, Grillo noted. “Our message to the RS2 team: Please keep doing what you are doing; it is a great brand, a great company that is going to add to what we do. We are excited to help the company perform and grow the way they have,” he said.

Following the recent acquisition of Open Options in December of 2018, ACRE continues to build its access control strength and reach in the North American market. The ACRE portfolio now consists of Vanderbilt, Open Options, RS2 and ComNet, providing a robust offering to meet the needs across many verticals and the requirements of simple applications to very complex enterprise systems. Today, ACRE employs more than 425 employees in more than 20 countries. 

In terms of adding another company to the mix, Grillo said, “It is another strong brand that fits in a very complementary way to the rest of the brands in the ACRE portfolio. And we have no problem with having multiple, and even at times competing brands, although there’s really not a tremendous amount of overlap in the reseller community of our different brands on the access control side.”

Moving forward, Grillo sees ACRE continuing to work heavily within some key verticals, including the government, education and medical markets, which he sees continuing to grow.

“We have a competitive landscape that has a few very large players, but we feel we are becoming more diverse and stronger geographically and feel better about our positioning at the ACRE level,” said Grillo. “Not only getting economies of scale at that level but also bringing in stronger brands that build up our overall size of the business and gives us increasing importance and strengthens our relationship with key suppliers such as Mercury, ASSA ABLOY and Allegion, as well as VMS and visitor management companies and some of the other things that we integrate to.”

Looking to the future, Grillo said ACRE will spend some time bringing Open Options and RS2 into the fold while staying active on the acquisition front.

“Given that we don't have huge integration plans, we can continue to operate them [Open Options and RS2] and continue to look at the competitive landscape and see what other strategic opportunities might be there for us.”

He is also excited to build on the momentum coming from the first part of the year. “We had a very strong close to the first quarter, building backlogs across all of our businesses, with lots of good opportunities on the partner side that you will be hearing about, as well as overall growth of the business, so we are expecting another good year,” he said.