ACRE to sell Mercury Security to HID Global

HID plans for tighter integration between controllers and readers
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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

LAS VEGAS—Access Control Related Enterprises LLC, owner of Vanderbilt and ComNet, recently announced the sale of Mercury Security Products to HID Global, a brand under ASSA ABLOY. Mercury is a supplier of OEM access control hardware.

“As Mercury Security became a less well-kept secret over the years, ACRE had often taken calls from prospective buyers interested in whether the property might be available. After an internal strategic assessment, the Board determined it should explore interest in a more formal manner, which resulted in a sales process culminating in the announcement made Sept. 19, 2017,” Joe Grillo, Founder and CEO of ACRE LLC and CEO of Vanderbilt, told Security Systems News in an email interview.

“HID was one of the several companies that expressed interest and worked through the process over the last several months, ultimately becoming the successful suitor,” Grillo said.

Mercury Security, started in 1992, has 4 million control panels installed worldwide. The company is based in Long Beach, Calif.

“The acquisition of Mercury Security will advance HID’s global leadership in the physical access control industry, adding Mercury Security’s high-quality controllers to HID’s product portfolio while extending HID’s installed base of millions of users beyond the readers and smart cards that we are already well known for,” Stefan Widing, president and CEO of HID Global, said in HID’s announcement of the deal. “Customers of both HID and Mercury Security will benefit from tighter and more seamless integration of controllers with readers and credentials, as well as from our shared vision for an open, flexible approach to access control.”

ACRE acquired Mercury in May 2013. “During the more than four years that Mercury was owned by ACRE, the focus was on continuing to build the brand awareness, secure new customers, and continue to offer leading-edge technology. We also successfully transitioned to new leadership and added additional human resources across many disciplines within the business. The result was a near doubling of the size of the business while maintaining exceptional profitability,” Grillo noted.

The deal will allow ACRE to refocus. “ACRE will be able to focus on its core Vanderbilt and ComNet brands with some duplicate customers and the same channels to market,” Grillo said. He also noted on “additional financial capacity to make additional acquisitions.”

HID's acquisition of Mercury Security is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions, ACRE’s announcement noted. The deal is expected to close in Q4 2017. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc. and Raymond James & Associates Inc. acted as financial advisors to ACRE and Mercury.  

Michael Morabito, head of Security and Building Technologies at Houlihan Lokey Capital, told SSN via email, “This transaction underscores the increasing trend towards open, flexible access control solutions and the importance for unified access control, identification and security systems across an organization. The transaction serves to strategically reinforce the ongoing, and accelerated, convergence of access systems within the broader building intelligence environment—Mercury/HID will play a critical part in this ongoing evolution and will be a major player in a space historically dominated by larger industrial conglomerates.”

Morabito continued, "For the security industry, the transaction demonstrates that innovation and cutting edge technology is rewarded. This will undoubtedly drive more investment into (and from) companies already within the industry but also new entrants, and investors that seek exciting new investment opportunities."

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