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ADT working to ‘stabilize’ dealer program

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

ADT officials weren’t available for comment when I wrote recently about an industry’s analyst’s report on how ADT had “culled” about 100 low-performing companies in order to improve its dealer program over the past year.

But in an ADT investor call last Friday, Alan Ferber, president of ADT’s residential business unit, confirmed much of what the analyst, Jeff Kessler, Imperial Capital’s managing director of institutional research, had said. Ferber also outlined ways ADT is working to “stabilize” that channel.

According to Seeking Alpha, which published a transcript of the Dec. 6 investor call, Ferber said:

So in 2013, we began to optimize our dealer channel to focus more resources on those that are [indiscernible] to evolving with ADT's overall direction and the trend towards automation. And while we're eliminating about 100 dealers, which obviously impacted overall net adds, our focus on the right dealers has resulted in the quality of the customers that come through that channel to remain high and actually have been improving. ARPU is about 10% above our average ARPU and growing about 5% over the past year and the creation multiple has actually come down even though there's been an increase in SAC. But we do remain focused on strengthening and continue to optimize this dealer channel to drive growth over time.

… In addition, channel growth was impacted by some changes among our largest dealers. We purchased 1, 1 had some cash flow issues that impacted their ability to increase adds and 1 left ADT for a competitive program. I'm very pleased, however, to report that, that dealer has now returned to the ADT family once he experienced the negative impact on his business of not having the powerful ADT brand behind him. So it's reconfirmed our dealer value proposition with that dealer and with many other dealers as well.

But more importantly, we're taking a number of actions to stabilize this channel. We are investing in enhanced funding to help drive further Pulse adoption, particularly higher end Pulse, where that higher level of automation has a very significant retention benefit as well. And increased funding will also enable some incremental sales and marketing activities by our dealers and also the recruitment of new high-quality dealers that are positioned to further drive automation.

… We're also investing in staffing and support to ensure success. We've added resources to provide better support for planning and performance management, and we've enhanced training and other tools to get new and existing dealers more productive, particularly with our new services. And while we certainly expect some noise in the next couple of quarters, we do believe these actions are establishing a very strong foundation for growth over time.

 

 

ADT partners with State Farm to promote Pulse

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Security companies often use as a selling point the fact that insurance companies give discounts to homeowners who have a security system. But ADT announced this week that it is leveraging that insurance company relationship in a new way: by partnering with State Farm to give that leading insurer’s customers special deals on Pulse. And the customers who get Pulse can also end up with a discount on their State Farm home insurance.

Seems like a pretty smart way to get customers to sign up for a smart home solution—and one that benefits both of these big companies.

Here’s more from ADT’s Dec. 3 release:
 

ADT today announced it is teaming up with State Farm to help its customers better manage and control their homes. ADT will provide special offers on its ADT Pulse home security and automation solution to State Farm customers, who may also qualify for home insurance discounts. The special offer also includes a free in-home security consultation, 24/7 professional monitoring by trained ADT security specialists and custom installation with a six-month money-back guarantee.

… “The average insurance claim for a home burglary or fire can cost thousands of dollars,” said Don Boerema, chief corporate development officer at ADT. “Through home automation capabilities and enhanced security features, ADT Pulse is the ideal solution to help State Farm customers connect to their families and homes to mitigate loss.”

“As the leading provider of homeowners insurance in North America, State Farm has a keen interest in helping customers prevent loss,” said Jack Weekes, operations vice president at State Farm. “By teaming up with ADT and other home control and monitoring providers, we are helping customers protect their family and property in today’s high tech world.”

The deal caught the attention of Insurance & Technology magazine, a business trade publication for insurers, which says in an article that it's "the latest sign that the smart device revolution is poised to shake up the insurance industry." The article wonders if insurers can "find the right tone and offering to capitalize" on the new trend. I'm wondering what other security companies will team up with insurers to better promote their security products.

One of ADT’s largest shareholders sells most of its stake

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The ADT Corp. reported yesterday that it was buying back 10.24 million of the shares of its third-largest shareholder, Corvex Management. Keith Meister, the hedge fund’s founder, who had been on ADT’s board since late 2012, also announced his resignation as director.

ADT’s stock price plunged early yesterday morning shortly after the news and while it recovered somewhat, was still down .59 percent this afternoon.

Meister said in a prepared statement, “We initially invested in ADT because of its leading market position and its potential for creating long-term shareholder value. The board and management have achieved admirable results over the past year.”

Now, Corvex will have less than 1 million shares in ADT, The Wall Street Journal reported. The WSJ said ADT bought Corvex’s shares at $44.01 each, so Corvex got a return of about 20 percent on its investment.

What does it all mean? A WSJ report yesterday sheds some light:
 

Within weeks of ADT's debut as a public company in October 2012, Corvex began pushing the company to buy back 30 percent of its stock with borrowed money. The hedge fund at that time said the stock was worth at least $61.

Corvex criticized ADT's conservative approach to debt, calling the company's capital structure "indefensible" during a presentation that accompanied Corvex's disclosure of a 5 percent stake in ADT at the time.

ADT's board has followed much of Corvex's strategy, including financing stock purchases with debt. The company recently announced that it will accelerate the purchase of $400 million of stock under an agreement with J.P. Morgan Chase. Once the purchase of the Corvex shares is completed, the Boca Raton, Fla., company will have spent $2.4 billion to retire about 20 percent of its stock.

 

ADT culls ‘weaker players' from its dealer program

Imperial Capital’s Kessler predicts ADT dealer-based Pulse take rates should increase
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11/26/2013

NEW YORK—ADT’s dealer program has been one of the company’s “soft spots” for years but now is turning around after the company “culled” more than 100 lower-performing dealers over the past year or so, according to an industry analyst.

Kastle Systems acquires monitoring station, Mutual Central Alarm Services from ADT

Deal adds 4,000 customer sites, Stat-Land Security Systems and UL-listed Five Diamond Certified monitoring station
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11/22/2013

FALLS CHURCH, Va.—Kastle Systems International added 4,000 customer sites and a new, highly specialized UL-listed Five Diamond central station in New York City with the Nov. 21 acquisition of Mutual Central Alarm Services and Stat-Land Security Systems from ADT.

ADT adds 100,000 customers in fiscal 2013 and its Devcon buy boosts its RMR, but attrition climbs to 13.9 percent

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Just about one year after The ADT Corp. split from Tyco International and became a stand-alone, publicly traded company, the company reported today that its RMR climbed 4.7 percent in Q4 and that the rise was helped by its acquisition of Devcon Security this summer.

Boca Raton, Fla.-based ADT, which officially became independent Sept. 28, 2012, reported its Q4 and fiscal year 2013 results today. It added 100,000 subscribers in 2013, bringing its total customer based to 6.5 million, the company said.

ADT also reported average revenue per user (ARPU) had climbed to $40.31, an increase of 3.7 percent, and said that helped increase RMR. The company also said its ADT Pulse overall take rate was at 32 percent in Q4, up from 13 percent last year due to new customers and price escalations to existing ones.

In the earnings call, ADT CEO Naren Gursahaney said, "We recently passed the 500,000 mark with Pulse customers. Just to put that into perspective for you, if Pulse was a stand-alone business, it would be the sixth largest security provider in North America. While this a major milestone for us, it still only represents about 8% of our total customer base, so we still have a tremendous opportunity to further grow our Pulse customer base."

Gursahaney also said that in Q4, "Net attrition increased by 10 basis points sequentially and 40 basis points year-over-year to 13.9 percent, with more than 100 percent of the increase attributable to higher relocation disconnects as a result of the continued recovering in the housing markets." The company is launching new programs to address attrition, which it plans to announce soon, he said.

The company’s revenue increased in Q4 by 4 percent to $846 million from $812 million, higher than the $843.8 million analysts expected. EBITDA was $431 million in Q4,  up 7.5 percent compared to the previous year.

Much of ADT’s total revenue is recurring revenue, the report said. RMR was $777 million in Q4. The company also said small business RMR growth for fiscal 2013 was 7 percent, up from 3 percent in 2012.

Just before its Nov. 20 earnings report, ADT announced this week it was defending its turf by suing Utah-based Vision Security for the second time over Vision’s alleged deceptive sales practices. The new lawsuit comes shortly after Vision and Security Networks, of which Vision is an affiliate, “settled with ADT for $2.2 million and agreed to a permanent injunction [from] engaging in similar practices,” according to an ADT news release.

Vision told me it denies ADT's allegations and intends to fight them.

The AP reported ADT’s shares closed at $42.81 yesterday, Nov. 19. Shares are down 8 percent for the year to date, the AP said.

Gursahaney predicted positive results for fiscal 2014, with revenues and RMR climbing 4 percent to 5 percent. "I'm confident the momentum we have built, coupled with the improvement programs we have implemented to address our challenges, will position us for continued revenue growth and operational improvements in 2014," he said.

ADT sues Vision—again—over alleged deceptive sales practices

Vision says it 'vigorously denies the allegations' and plans to fight them
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11/18/2013

BOCA RATON, Fla.—Just months after settling one lawsuit with Utah-based Vision Security over what The ADT Corp. characterized as Vision's deceptive sales pitches, ADT announced today that it has filed a second lawsuit accusing Vision of similar practices.

Illinois fire districts open up to commercial fire monitoring

New ordinances allow commercial customers to choose any fire alarm monitoring, but one company may have ‘tremendous market advantage’
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10/21/2013

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill.—After an appeals court ruling this summer saying public fire districts can’t monopolize fire alarm monitoring, two fire districts recently passed new ordinances allowing commercial fire alarm companies to compete in those markets.

ADT gets new CFO

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10/15/2013

BOCA RATON, Fla.—Michael Geltzeiler will join ADT as the company’s new chief financial officer, ADT announced this week.

ADT settles its lawsuits against Vision Security and Security One over deceptive sales practices

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10/10/2013

BOCA RATON, Fla.—ADT announced today that it has settled its lawsuit against Florida-based Security Networks and its Utah-based affiliate Vision Security, requiring those companies to pay $2.2 million in damages.

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