Central Security Group: Equity infusion will aid growth

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

TULSA, Okla.—A Boston-based growth equity investor has acquired Central Security Group, one of the nation’s top full-service providers of security alarm monitoring services.

Summit Partners announced its investment in Central Security on Nov. 1. Summit acquired the company, which is headquartered here, from Great Hill Partners, another private equity firm in Boston. Great Hill acquired Central Security in 2005.

Mark Wilson, Central Security’s CEO, said in an interview: “We’re really excited about Summit. We’re looking at them as a great partner going into the future.”

Wilson said the company, which was founded in 1999, has about 135,000 accounts and is still growing. “This is the kind of equity infusion that will assist us in continuing to accelerate our growth,” he said.

Central Security, which has RMR of more than $3.5 million, currently operates in the Sunbelt, providing services to 12 Southern and South Central states. Wilson said the company plans to expand into other locations, but declined to say at this point which states it might serve in the future. “We’re looking at a lot of other places throughout the United States,” he said.

Christopher Gaffney, managing partner of Great Hill, declined to comment to Security Systems News on the sale of Central Security.

An announcement that Great Hill sent out about the sale late in October said that during the five-year holding period, Central Security generated revenues at 15 percent per year and tripled EBITDA.

Summit Partners declined to comment on the terms of the acquisition.

But Sonya Tarnow Brown, a Summit principal who will join the Central Security Group board of directors, explained in an email interview what drew Summit to invest in the company.

“Summit Partners seeks to invest in profitable, rapidly growing companies run by extraordinary management teams,” Brown said. She said Central Security “has this very profile.”

She continued, “Under the direction of cofounders Mark Wilson and Harry Schenk, Central Security Group has established a leadership position in the security and alarm services industry, and has maintained consistent growth since its inception.”

Brown said that Summit, which has more than 30 public offerings and strategic mergers in the business services industry, will continue to look at the security industry for future investment.

In a statement issued by Summit, Wilson said he considers Summit Partners’ investment “a vote of confidence in our security alarm monitoring business model and our leadership position in the industry.”