Vanderbilt Industries expands portfolio with international acquisition of Siemens' SPB

Oct. 20, 2014
Strategy to consolidate global technology offerings and strengthen internal R&D serves as prime motivators for deal

In a move to expand its international footprint, as well as strengthen its internal research and development capabilities, Vanderbilt Industries has announced today its intent to acquire Siemens’ Security Products business, which is part of the Siemens’ Building Technologies Division. The business will be renamed Vanderbilt International GmbH and will be headed up by Joseph J. Grillo, who will serve as Managing Director working from the company’s new operational headquarters in Germany.  Mitch Kane remains as President of Vanderbilt Industries in the United States and will report to Grillo.

Siemens’ SP consists of products in the access control, intrusion alarm, and video surveillance categories, which complement Vanderbilt Industries’ fully, integrated product offerings. The acquisition includes such well-known and established brands as Bewator and Cotag in the access control segment and Alarmcom and Europlex in the intrusion alarm space.

“These are acquisitions Siemens did during the late 1990s and into the 2000s. All of this business is in Europe. One of the reasons it fits so well with our company is because the bulk of Vanderbilt Industries’ business and all of its employees are in North America, while this business, which will be renamed Vanderbilt International, has 95 percent of its sales and 100 percent of its employees in Europe,” said Grillo. “The acquisition of Siemens’ Security Products matches Vanderbilt’s solid foundation and strong legacy built from nearly three decades in the security industry,”

Two of the most important points of the acquisition according to Grillo is that it will significantly boost Vanderbilt’s market position in the European security systems market through a wider and more comprehensive range of products and solutions, and that the Siemens products is complementary to Vanderbilt existing business portfolio as a leading supplier with widely recognized brands and long-term relationships with pre-eminent customers.

“Having coverage across Europe with a lot of great product and well know historical brands was a part of the strategy. This is very similar to what Vanderbilt Industries did with Ingersoll Rand when it carved out the access control business. The only real difference here is that the Siemens business which is left behind, including the integration and the big building automation business, will be a very important customer of Vanderbilt International. So instead of buying it from an internal sister company, they will be buying from us as a vendor,” said Grillo.

Another key element of the acquisition said Grillo is the prospect of leveraging R&D of its new German counterpart.

“When IR figured that the Schlage SMS business was not going to remain a key part of their portfolio, they essentially stopped all R&D efforts. That is not the case with Vanderbilt International,” stressed Grillo. “They have come out with some very exciting new products – a line of motion detectors, a line of card readers and a new access control system that was just released at the recent Essen Security Show. So there has been some R&D that we will take advantage of across the rest of the company.”

While Grillo pointed out that Vanderbilt is not a huge company, it will certainly keep an eye focused on future expansion and acquisition opportunities. “There will be a little digestion time, but we are well-funded, so if another opportunity comes along we will be seriously looking at.”

Financial details of the transaction were not released. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. The closing of the transaction is expected to occur by the end of the first quarter of 2015. Grillo said that there will be a significant time between signing and closing as Vanderbilt converts all the back office functionality over from Siemens. Vanderbilt Industries is a subsidiary of ACRE LLC, which acquired the company from Ingersoll Rand in 2012. 

About the Author

Steve Lasky | Editorial Director, Editor-in-Chief/Security Technology Executive

Steve Lasky is a 34-year veteran of the security industry and an award-winning journalist. He is the editorial director of the Endeavor Business Media Security Group, which includes the magazine's Security Technology Executive, Security Business, and Locksmith Ledger International, and the top-rated website He is also the host of the SecurityDNA podcast series.Steve can be reached at [email protected]