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Barnes Associates

Investor speculates on Monitronics outlook

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Greater visibility, broader market acceptance and (for some central stations) more wholesale monitoring accounts are just some of the benefits often mentioned in connection with the entrance of cablecos and telecoms into security.

A recent Wholesale Monitoring study by the Barnes Associates (co-sponsored by the CSAA and SSN) largely attributed the 19 percent growth the segment enjoyed in 2013 to the influence of the new entrants. To be sure, there seems to be a prevailing belief that the rangy, big-money advertising campaigns of such companies can be the proverbial “rising tide that lifts all boats.”

That’s not to say there’s no ambivalence. That was apparent enough in a recent SSN News Poll that dealt with the topic. A number of readers expressed concern about the long-term viability of smaller players in the home security space, given the influx of these major corporations who have already made inroads into the home through Internet and cable, and thus have that previously established “stickiness.”

That ambivalence was also reflected in a recent analysis by Rajiv Bhatia on Seeking Alpha, a crowdsourced platform for investment-based ideas, who discussed what the new market players could mean for Ascent Capital, the holding company of Monitronics. Bhatia acknowledged that the company faces “increased competition” from the large new cableco/telecom entrants, which he says are gaining traction despite unsuccessful forays into the market in the past.

Regarding Monitronics’ business model, Bhatia offered a mixture of encouraging and somewhat cautionary words:

“While management and sell-side analysts believe that Ascent is better insulated from competition via its dealer-only business model, Ascent faces upward pressure on the multiple it pays for its dealer contracts from competitors. Additionally, its growth through its internal channels is weakening.”

Those multiples, he noted earlier, are based on an RMR multiple of 50. Ascent faces “upward pressure on the multiple it pays to acquire contracts,” he said.

With more than 1 million subscribers, Monitronics trails only ADT in terms of marketshare in the alarm monitoring space. It will be interesting to watch what happens to the market presence of both companies as the cableco/telecom ads continue to appear on our television screens.

Readers reflect on cableco/telecom impact on wholesale monitoring space

Readers speculate about what’s next for new entrants making inroads into security
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04/09/2014

YARMOUTH, Maine—The fourth annual Barnes Associates/SSN/CSAA Wholesale Monitoring study found the number of monitored accounts was up 19 percent in 2013, a growth figure the authors believe is being propelled by the influx of cablecos and telecoms into the industry.

Barnes Associates wholesale monitoring survey finds accounts up 19 percent

Michael Barnes suspects cableco/telecom influx could be behind ‘unprecedented growth’
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03/12/2014

YARMOUTH, Maine—Much can be gleaned from the fourth annual Barnes Associates/SSN/CSAA wholesale monitoring survey, but if anything stands out about 2013, it’s that overall growth was gaudy.

Steve Baker, other industry vets launch GHS Interactive Security

LifeLine Security is acquired as platform for growth, Topspin is equity partner, Barnes Associates advised deal
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05/22/2013

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Industry veteran Steve Baker, who has served in executive roles at ADT, Monitronics and Westec, announced May 22 that his corporation, GHS Interactive Security, has acquired LifeLine Security and Automation as a platform for growth.

Barnes Associates/SSN wholesale monitoring survey finds accounts up nearly 11 percent in 2012

Michael Barnes calls results 'very positive indicator' for industry
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03/13/2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—The wholesale monitoring industry posted surprisingly strong growth in 2012, with accounts increasing 10.7 percent and average RMR for alarm companies following nearly in lock step, according to a new survey led by Barnes Associates.

Glow or glower? Readers chart industry’s prospects for 2013

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02/26/2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—In mid-December, The Wall Street Journal defied doomsayers and the pending fiscal cliff with an article headlined “Economy Poised to Nudge Ahead in 2013.” The Journal predicted that the U.S. recovery would gain a bit of steam through the year, ushering in a period of more normal growth.

Following the money: Schmidt, Barnes and Christhilf talk deals, valuations and taxes

Experts reflect on 2012, share predictions for 2013
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12/12/2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—A number of big deals happened in 2012: the split-up of Tyco, the acquisition of Vivint and the creation of Securadyne, to name a few.

Putting the Vivint sale in perspective

Michael Barnes and George De Marco on the $2 billion valuation of Vivint, whether its growth plans are realistic, and its plans for expansion into commercial security
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09/19/2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—News today that the Blackstone Group, a $180 billion private equity firm, will acquire home automation and security company Vivint in an agreement worth more than $2 billion is another “huge shot of support for the industry,” Michael Barnes, founding partner of Barnes Associates, a consulting and advisory firm that specializes in the security alarm industry, told Security Systems News.

AT&T enters security market, but can it become a billion-dollar business?

One way to build scale would be to acquire the largest player
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05/09/2012

DALLAS—When AT&T announced on Monday that it will begin trials this summer of Digital Life, its home security/home automation service, here and in Atlanta, mainstream newspapers reported that the company was looking to potentially grow the service into a $1 billion business.

Barnes Associates/SSN release results of 2012 Wholesale Monitoring Study

Growth in 2011 is 5.7 percent, down slightly from 2010
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03/23/2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—By most measures, the economy is slowly improving. But that doesn’t mask the pain of the past four years, and for many sectors—the security industry included—the recovery has been a case of two steps forward, one step back. Caution still abounds and it continues to temper growth in jobs, investment and spending.

In the face of this sluggishness, how has the monitoring industry fared when it comes to keeping and adding customers? To find out, Barnes Associates, a consulting and advisory firm specializing in the security alarm industry, teamed up with Security Systems News for a second annual survey of wholesale monitoring companies.

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