Merger and acquisition opportunities

Future may yield more opportunities than in years past

If you’re looking for merger or acquisition (M&A) opportunities, the coming years might yield more possibilities than the recent past.

What with the credit crunch, collapse of the financial market, languishing and rising debt, a bruised and bleary investment community and banks cutting off most channels of cash and credit, it’s safe to say 2009 was probably one of the quieter M&A markets in some time.

Several of the most notable buys came in the last quarter. On the higher end of the scale, there was the purchase of well-known systems integration firm Adesta in late November by G4S, a global security solutions company for $66 million (based on annual revenues from Adesta of $92 million in 2008). Electronic security services provider Vector Security announced earlier in that same month it had acquired Florida-based Certified Security Systems. Other systems integrators made their mark in M&A. Alarm Detection Systems of Aurora, Ill., made a few buys during the year, the most recent MBN Security Systems, Morris, Ill. Other companies, such as ASG, ADS in Nashville, Stanley Convergent Security Solutions, Monitronics International, APX Alarm, Protection One and other high-profile firms made several buys or acquisitions, but certainly the movement was not at the fever pitch the industry had witnessed prior to the recession deepening its grip in 2008 through 2009.

Mike Duffy, chief executive officer and president/owner of Per Mar Security Services, Davenport, Iowa, said he expects there to be plenty of buying opportunities as retirement becomes closer for a large number of companies. “Also, technology changes will cause a separation between those companies willing to reinvest in their business and those that are not.” Duffy commented that he believes there will be more opportunities to purchase established companies in 2010 versus 2009 and that “government intervention is wearing down many small companies.” Contracts, quality people and quality installations and a good reputation for client service are important criteria for Per Mar in the search for suitors.

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