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ADT shares upgraded to equal weight

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05/09/2013

BOCA RATON, Fla.—Morgan Stanley this week upgraded shares of The ADT Corp. from an underweight to an equal weight rating in a report sent recently to investors, according to multiple reports. The firm currently has a $47.00 price target on the stock.

Tyco IS takes 'disciplined approach' to making margin

Imperial Capital’s Kessler says end users back up Tyco’s claims
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05/01/2013

BOCA RATON, Fla.—Taking a page out of SimplexGrinnell’s playbook, Tyco Integrated Security is following a structured approach to making margin on its commercial security jobs, according to Tyco executives and analysts who cover the company.

ISC West 2013: Day 1 & 2

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Lots of people on the show floor on Wednesday! 29,900 square feet of exhibit space and 1003 booths, is what I heard.
Wednesday started for me with the Axis Press Breakfast, where the network camera company introduced three new cameras and an upgraded Axis Camera Companion. In 2012, there were 60,000 downloads of the software, according to Axis’ Fredrik Nilsson.

The cameras of the future will be customized for customers with apps, the same way we currently customize our smartphones, Nilsson said. With that in mind, Axis also announced a partnership with the Wentworth Institute of Technology, a college in Boston, where students will design apps for cameras. One professor, Charles Hotchkiss, and two students, Joshua Ramirez and Nicholas Gelfman,  attended the breakfast and the two students talked about the apps they’ve already developed.

Gelfman is working on a 3D multi-tracking app that is intended to alert operators if someone is trying tamper with a camera. The app determines where an approaching person or object is distance-wise from the camera and sends an alert if it gets too close. Gelfman put it in simple terms for me: “Cameras see in 2D, this app basically allows it to see in 3D.”

Ramirez is a sophomore computer information systems major from Hanover, N.H., who is the station manager of Wentworth’s radio station WIRE. 
“I had a selfish reason for developing the app” he said. Students who work in the radio station are supposed to sign in and out when they come to work at the station, but they often don't do that, he explained. So Ramirez developed an app that automatically records the time that a student comes into or leaves the station, and it sends Ramirez an email alert under certain conditions.

He named the app Alibi. It "tracks students and if they log in, [the app] is their alibi to say that they were [at the station]," he said.

“It’s still a work in progress. I’ve spend six weeks on it but it was during exams and finals,” Ramirez said.   

Nilsson said that Axis didn’t give the students any ideas about kinds of apps to develop. They approach the project with no preconceived notion of what kinds of apps to develop. Axis has been amazed with the results, he said.

After the Axis breakfast, I did a video interview with Renae Leary and Matthias Ernst of Tyco Global Accounts were I got an update on how Tyco's global enterprise customers are standardizing their security systems across in offices spanning the globe.

At a press conference Bosch launched 110, count ‘em, 110 new video products and previewed its ‘4K Ultra HD’ camera. It also announced its integration partner program and is showing integration with 5 VMS providers in its booth.

Next, I interviewed Mark VanDover of Tyco IS for ssnTVnews. He talked about the progress the integration giant has made as a standalone entity over the past year and a half.

More mobile news: Jay Hauhn, Tyco IS Chief Technology Officer, also did an interview for ssnTVnews. We talked about Tyco’s launch of  MSM, Tyco’s Mobile Security Manager.

Next up was an interview with Tony Byerly, Felix Gonzales and Jeremy Brecher of Diebold, where I got to see a demo of their very cool “SecureStat” enterprise security platform. I heard about it at ASIS and saw if for the first time at the show. Here’s a YouTube video about the platform.

At a NICE press conference, Tony Ruiz, City of San Diego, talks about implementing NICE's Situator, to manage protection for its critical infrastructure, and for the city too. The implementation is new, but Ruiz said it's already saving training time and money for the city and taxpayers.

Back on the show floor, I met with Bryan Schmode, EVP of Global Sales at Avigilon. We talked about Avigilon’s the Adaptive IR in its new bullet camera, and the company's new Dallas headquarters.

Also had a chance to swing by Next Level Security Systems and talk to Bill Jacobs. I got to see some of the stuff I spoke to Bill and Jumbi Edulbehram about in this story.

Next I had a chance to visit with Stan Oppenheim and Dan Oppenheim at Affiliated Monitoring. Looking forward to seeing their new monitoring station the next time I get to NYC.

And, I wrapped up Day 1 after catching up with Will Schmidt and other CapitalSource folks.

THURSDAY, April 11

Is Thursday Day 2 or Day 3 of the show? Officially, it’s Day 2, but with so many events scheduled for Tuesday, it really is Day 3 for most of us.

Whichever day it was,  it kicked off brilliantly with the fourth annual Security 5K!

We had a different course this time. Rather than starting near the Fashion Show Mall, the 2013 start line was a half-mile jog or bus ride away from the Sands in an office park of sorts. The course was a completely flat out-and-back labyrinth of switchbacks. Best course yet in my opinion. It wasn’t exactly bucolic, but the office park was considerably greener and cleaner than past year’s courses, and it was fun to watch the crowd of runners ahead of you snaking back and forth around the park. And because of the switchbacks, the finish line appeared closer than it really was.

More than 400 finished the 5K and there was a big crowd for the 2K as well.

Most important, we raised more than $90,000. Mike Perkins of Anixter raised more than $7,000 with his company match. Jesse and Nicole Foglio raised $2,350, and Bob McKee raised $1,685.

Mission 500’s George Fletcher said that 650 people registered for the race. If each person raised $100, we would raise $65,000 before any extra fundraising efforts—something to think about for 2014.

Back on the show floor on Thursday morning I did an ssnTVnews interview with John Mack, managing director and head of M&A for Imperial Capital. We were talking about the availability of financing and the flow of PE money into the industry. Here’s an interesting statistic: More than half of the top 20 alarm companies are now owned or have majority ownership by private equity firms. Five years ago “it was just a handful,” he said.
It’s a great time for alarm company owners and integrators to refi their debt or make acquisitions, Mack added.

I stopped by the Stanley booth on my way to Denis Hebert’s HID Global Strategy Briefing, which was packed, as usual. Hebert gave a great presentation. His focus this year was on the opportunities and potential pitfalls the security industry needs to be aware of as access control goes mobile. The move to mobile will “redefine credential use and management” he said. As a result, “best practices” for end users and integrators will become more important than ever. Privacy is an increasingly crucial element for all stakeholders to consider, he added.

Next I met with George Farley at Observint Technologies. Owned by The Carlyle Group, Observint was formed in 2006 with the goal of acquiring security-focused companies. Observint acquired Supercircuits in 2006. It subsequently bought Security Cameras Direct, DIGIOP and SC Technologies. Last summer it helping LG Electronics relaunch its security products in the United States, and this past November it acquired access control provider infinias. Farley said the last six months have been “all foundational work for us. … [building] a comprehensive sale and support solution.” That was Phase 1, he said. Observint is in Phase 2 now, he said, which is centered on its distribution partnership. Digiop and Infinias had distinct partners before the acquisition, and Observint is finalizing relationships with a variety of distributors, Farley said. The next phase will focus on the dealer, “building a robust and differentiated program … that will include demand generation support and sales support.”

At Milestone, I spoke with Courtney Dillon Peterson, about the company’s new Arcus product  “It’s a super-streamlined VMS that’s only for our technical partners to embed, not Milestone.” Partners embedding the solution, and present at the booth were Veracity, which is offering “Coldstore Arcus” for enterprise customers; Lenovo EMC (formerly Iomega), which is offering two different versions of what it’s calling LenovoEMC NVR; and, Razberri, which is offering its “Netswitch” appliance. “They each target a different audience and each offer a different form of VMS,” Peterson said.

The bottom line differentiation for this product? That it’s multi-platform, Peterson said. “It runs on Linux, MacOS and Windows. Others are Windows-based.” The product is “versatile … [and will enable partners to sell a] preconfigured, pre-installed, simplified VMS,” she said.

Samsung is in the midst of a “massive hiring campaign,” Frank DeFina told me during our meeting. Samsung was talking about its new 6000 Series line of cameras driven off its “core WiseNet II chip.” The full line of cameras are “available in every skin. … are 2.4 megapixel, with full 1080p. The clarity is second-to-none,” Samsung marketing director Janet Fenner said. Among the analytics available in this line is a “defogging” analytics, which gets rid of smoke or fog.

Back at our booth, I interviewed Don Erickson, CEO of SIA, and SSN’s own group publisher Tim Purpura. We spoke about two collaborative efforts SIA and SSN are working on—the distribution of SIA’s “Fiscal Year Informer,” a quarterly insert available through SSN with information about government grants; and, a webcast series on security technologies, moderated by me, and featuring a variety of speakers. The next webcast is scheduled for April 24. Here’s a link to that.

I did two other video interviews. One with Matthew Ladd, president and CEO of The Protection Bureau. We talked about how The Protection Bureau is saving money by sharing certain operational metrics with employees.

The other interview was will Bill Savage, CEO of Security Control Systems in Houston, and one of Security-Net's original founders. Security-Net, a group of independent integrators that functions as a national integrator, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. We talked about how the group has grown  from 5 to 20 integrators and the efforts it makes to ensure its employees are up to date on technology.

Next, I spoke to Pierre Racz, CEO of Genetec about the company’s new cloud-based video surveillance as a service solution for small and medium sized businesses. This offering takes Genetec “out of its comfort zone … into the realm of small camera-count  jobs, the 6-14 camera jobs [that represent a huge growth opportunity] for integrators and installers,” Racz said.

Thursday ended with the Security 5K reception. Mike Keegan of Magnasphere, who was honored for his community service efforts, gave a simple and compelling argument for getting involved with causes like Mission 500, the beneficiary of the Security 5k. “The ripple effect [of these efforts] is incredible,” Keegan said.

 

Analysts raise price target on shares of ADT

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02/04/2013

NEW YORK—Several analysts boosted the price target on shares of ADT last week, according to an article by dailypolitical.com.

Interface completes $230m refi, gets new $45m revolver

Imperial Capital advises, predicts more high-yield bond deals
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01/23/2013

ST. LOUIS—Interface Security Systems, based here, last week completed a $230 million bond deal and also secured a new $45 million revolver from Capital One.

HID Global acquires Codebench

Software company bring expertise, integration with 28 PACS
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01/08/2013

IRVINE, Calif.—In a deal that brings new capabilities for its government customers and promise for increasing its commercial business, HID Global announced Jan. 8 that it has acquired Codebench, a physical security identity management company.

IR to shed security business

McManus: If well capitalized, spinoff could benefit security integrators
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12/12/2012

SWORDS, Ireland—Depending on how the new business is structured, conglomerate Ingersoll Rand’s decision to spin off its security products business could benefit integrators, Michael McManus, Imperial Capital managing director, told Security Systems News.

Kessler on the multiple paid for Vivint

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Whenever a big company in the industry sells, there’s interest in the specific metrics of the deal.

I called Jeff Kessler at Imperial Capital to talk about the pending sale of Vivint to the largest private equity group in the country, Blackstone and the numbers.

It’s not every day there’s a $2 billion deal in the security industry.

While Kessler has high praise for Vivint, he says that certain metrics are not as off-the-charts as one might think, at least according to his calculations.

Kessler pointed out that the sale of Vivint for north of $2 billion includes not only Vivint’s home security/automation business, but 2GIG (a manufacturer of alarm/home automations systems) and Vivint Solar.

So while the total enterprise value for the is “north of $2 billion”, the enterprise value for Vivint home security/automation is less than $2 billion, he said.

Which doesn’t mean the valuation is not impressive, it just means “the multiple of RMR, EBITDA or steady state cash flow will be less than the total amount given for the entire company,” he said.

In terms of a multiple of RMR, Vivint has said it has $30 million in RMR. Kessler said RMR will be higher by the time the sale closes at the end of the year. “If you assume that RMR will be higher, and you assume that [Blackstone will pay] something less than $2 billion for Vivint [home automation/security], the multiple of RMR paid would be in the 50s.”

However, Kessler doesn’t like to talk about multiples of RMR. He prefers to look at multiples of steady state cash flow, because that “really gets rid of the accounting variance that really riddles EBITDA,” he said.

Based on his estimates of Vivint’s [home automation/security’s] steady state cash flow, he said the multiple to be paid is actually “at lower end of the 10 to 13 times [steady state cash flow] range paid for larger, quality companies over the past 18 to 24 months.”

Kessler based his assumption on certain transactions such as Bain & Hellman buying Securitas Direct; Ascent Capital buying Monitronics, Summit buying Central Security Group and Oak Hill Capital buying Security Networks.

(I'm quite certain I'll hear from others who's assumptions and math differ from Kessler's. Please leave a comment on this blog or contact me.)

The important thing is that if you're trying to figure out a mulitple of RMR, steady state cash flow or EBITDA, you need to back Vivint Solar and 2GIG out of the equation.

And if you're trying to figure out if your company's ripe for a sale, take a good look at what Vivint's doing, Kessler said. 

Kessler called Vivint is a “model company” that’s taking advantage of new technology and providing  “a value-added proposition at a premium.” The company’s average RMR per new subscriber is the highest at over $50, and they’re doing good things such as moving away from all summer-sales and increasing in-house sales resources.”

The Blackstone deal “should allow Vivint a lot of growth [with the] forward-looking ideas it has on its platter. … This will allow capital runway for projects like increasing the size of their non-summer sales force, increasing their ability to move into new markets such as small and medium sized commercial security, and to fund the growth and development of new products in home and business services, some of which are not even on paper yet.”

There will be lots more deals done in the security industry in the next year. The capital players are interested, but Kessler said it’s the security companies, like Vivint, what he calls the “haves,” those that are taking advantage of new technology and which have a finely tuned sales and marketing efforts that will be the most sought after.

Verint to become independent, public company

Deal announced to ‘buy out’ parent company in share exchange
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08/15/2012

MELVILLE, N.Y.—If the merger deal with its parent company, Comverse Technology Inc. (CTI), goes through as planned, video surveillance provider Verint will be a 100 percent independent public company as early as February.

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