Guardian buys American Alarm

Deal brings $130k in RMR
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOUTHFIELD, Mich.—In a deal that brings with it 5,000 accounts and $130,000 of RMR, Guardian Alarm, which is based here, has acquired Cleveland-based American Alarm.

“We bought the alarm business from Ron Baxter, who owns a bunch of companies,” David Goldstein, president of Guardian Alarm, told Security Systems News.

The deal included alarm accounts (70 percent residential) in northeast Ohio and Columbus, vehicles and three technicians. It also included “two to three” police boards, he said.

“They [the police] monitor the accounts, but we now own those boards,” Goldstein said. Any new alarm account, commercial or residential, in geographic areas covered by those boards must go through Guardian Alarm. “Even if ADT sells an account there, they have to pay me to go through that board,” Goldstein explained.

Goldstein declined to disclose what he paid for the business except to say, “We paid a higher multiple than we would normally pay, but it was the perfect footprint to enhance the Cleveland organization that we have.”

The American operation will be folded into an existing Guardian office in Cleveland. That office was responsible for $160,000 in RMR. With the addition of American’s accounts, it will do $290,000 in RMR. Previously the office was run as part of Guardian’s Toledo branch. “Now we’ve made Cleveland its own entity, with its own GM, its own P&L,” he said.

Goldstein has hired Mark Oaklief, who was with Protection 1, to be GM of the Cleveland office. Both Oaklief and Goldstein previously worked for ADT.

The branch is 60 percent residential. “We’ve added a commercial rep in Cleveland and will continue to run with the residential staff there,” he said.

Goldstein said he’s looking for more acquisitions within the company’s Ohio, Florida and Michigan footprint. “Our strength is that we’re able to give 24-hour, same-day service. If we start to move beyond that [geographic] footprint, that weakens the Guardian name.”