Tyco Acquires Exacq

By John Honovich, Published Jun 19, 2013, 12:00am EDT (Info+)

Tyco is spending $150 million in cash to acquire VMS/NVR manufacturer Exacq, who generated $54.6 million in 2012. This is one of the most expensive and significant deals in the video surveillance industry (see our directory of 25 acquisitions).

Exacq's Rapid Ascent

Exacq has been one of the fastest growing companies in surveillance, growing revenue 73% in 2012, faster than even Avigilon. Exacq now generates more revenue than Milestone ($54.6 vs $51.1 million). While the company's marketing has been relatively understated, expansion has been rapid.

Tyco's Struggles

Tyco, on the other hand, has struggled in IP video surveillance. Its video surveillance division, American Dynamics, used to be one of the top providers in the past decade, with its Intellex DVR line. However, AD has lost their way, acquiring a small VMS company (TridentTek in 2007 [link no longer available]) and then OEMing Exacq for its Hybrid Line. Today, AD has a poor fit in the market, with average products at above average pricing.

Premium Paid

Typically, surveillance manufacturers, like Tyco, prefer to pay pennies on the dollars for their acquisitions. However, Tyco is paying nearly 3 times Exacq's 2012 revenues, which is far higher than normal and at $150 million total, is quite significant. Despite Tyco already having multiple overlapping VMS / NVR lines, the hefty price indicates how much Tyco needs Exacq.

That noted, given Exacq's rapid growth and profitability, it is not an unreasonable price to pay.

Tyco Security Products Explanation

The VP of Global Sales at Tyco Security Products has sent a letter/email to their dealers, claiming that "Their products will be highly complementary additions to our current portfolio of American Dynamics video solutions." This is wrong as the overlap on the video management side is very significant as AD already has numerous VMS / NVR / DVR options. 

What Will Happen?

Tyco will most likely ruin Exacq. They are Tyco, after all. However, what exactly happens depends on how Exacq is integrated and whether the Exacq management team will remain long term. 

This is the second win for Exacq's founders, who previously sold Integral to Pelco and then turned around, built Exacq and kicked Pelco/Integral's ass. It is especially impressive because Tyco paid them all cash, which is a bearish sign for them staying long term within Tyco.

For Exacq's competitors, this is excellent news, because Exacq has been taking market share even from leading rivals for years (Milestone, Genetec and OnSSI included). Tyco does not add much even in the way of sales channel as Exacq as widely available through more than 1000 integrators and via distribution.

UPDATE - The Tyco / AD / ADT Connection

The biggest fear that other security manufacturers expressed is the connection between Tyco Integrated Services (the old ADT integrator) and American Dynamics. With a stronger VMS platform in Exacq, this may motivate Tyco to push Exacq at the expense of third party offerings. Avigilon, among others, has recently been touting Tyco as a major new growth partner.


I suspect the industry has just lost today, but it is a good outcome for the Exacq team who has quietly executed exceptionally. 

UPDATE: Exacq Founder's Comment

Exacq's Tom Buckley offered the following comment to IPVM:

"Exacq Technologies remains as Exacq Technologies. Dave, Dan and I remain as executive management. They bought us for us, and did not have any built-in reductions in staff nor do they expect any consolidation of the sales channel. They expect us to grow as Exacq and there are natural synergies, particularly internationally where they have a strong presence and where we are weak. We may have a strong channel position in North America, but we are behind all of our major competitors internationally. We see this merger as a positive growth step in the company."

Comments (67)

This is great for us that compete against Tyco. Excaq is a well known product, and many know its weaknesses. I was aware Tyco was dealing with Avigilon to some degree but them buying Exacq is a great news to us. It is a huge blow to all those exacq fans out there. I agree that Tyco will ruin Excaq. I think it is starting to show how desperate Tyco is to get into the IP industry. Their reputation from ADT has been hard to overcome.

UPDATE: My earlier comment was incorrect.

I believe Jose is right. Tyco Integrated Security is a subsidiary of Tyco Inc which also owns AD / Tyco Security Products, so there is a direct financial connection and the potential to favor Exacq over Avigilon, Genetec, etc.

Damn. Just when I was starting to like Exacq.

When I worked for them years ago, the joke was TYCO stood for "Take Your Company Over".

John G,

Well American Dynamics is/was no great company either. I had a couple of run-ins with their Technical Support in the late 90's and early 00's that put them on our "Do Not Buy" list.

Via Twitter, "Good way to ruin a great security products company - have it acquired by a large publicly-traded conglomerate."

This does not serve as a surprise to me at all. I just hope that ExacQ product development remains the way it has been. 6 sigma certification is probably what they will push for with the product which always slows down the development.

Well that was unexpected.


Well, it's a sweet spot every entrepreneur hopes to hit one day! Well done Exacq team.

I only would like to comment to anti Tyco community that why don't you buy such good companies before Tyco does, so you don't have to end up being jealous and getting out of competition.

Its a business deal between Tyco & Exacq. Stay out of wasting time on your useless comments, which is not going to reverse the deal.

Undisclosed, I do think Tyco made a good decision here. They paid the premium and pulled the trigger on a strong product line. My question, and I think, the fear of many, is whether they can sustain the Exacq line long term.

John they cannot- Tyco is trash and every integrator worth their weight knows it. This PROVES that Tyco was on their way out the door and the only thing they could do was purchase a B rate VMS that makes their storage and nvrs out of iStarUSA and Raidage appliances and slaps their name on the box. Sounds like a perfect purchase in line with the rest of the Tyco trash out there. A waste of 150 million only to show your entire hand to the rest of the world. This just makes me smile... Sorry Exacq fans. Now everyone knows that Tyco HAS NO NEW IDEAS OF THEIR OWN. They deserve to be the center of the trash talk. They are trash.

I knew there was a reason we didn't take on Exacq as a partner.... This is quite fitting. I'm sure Commerce Casino is pretty pissed that they dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into American Dynamics last year, only to find their products are garbage. If only they had waited a year they could have had slightly better garbage...

Undisclosed, I'm sure it's a great idea to buy good companies like Milestone, Genetec, and OnSSI. But considering Tyco ended up with Exacq it sounds like they aren't for sale... There's a reason. Their owners and shareholders don't wish to flush their companies down the drain for a quick buck.

Gleason, I don't think it's appropriate to call this a quick buck. Exacq's been in business ~10 years.

I bet if Tyco offered OnSSI $150 million in cash, they would sell in a heartbeat. I have no inside information, it's just my gut feel considering that they OEM Milestone for their recorder.

As for Milestone, they are ambitious, and are probably holding out for more than Exacq, even though Milestone's revenue and profits are less and their growth rate is far lower.

As for Genetec, I couldn't even guess.

No way any shareholder from Milestone, Genetec, OnSSI would pass up an offer for 3x revenue. No way.

This was not unexpected, I've been expecting this for the past couple of years. The owners have made a living off of selling their companies for decades. I believe this is the fourth company they have sold off. They know how to start a company and make it successful and when to sell it to get the most out of it. In five years, they'll probably start another one and do it all over again. True Vision (sp), Integral, and now Exacq to name the last three.

Time will tell if Tyco runs it into the ground. That is what happened to Integral. The only thing left from that company is a DVR line for Pelco. A good portion of the employees worked for Integral so they should have expected the sale once they became successful. Integral was actually purchased a few times before it was run into the ground, so you never know. I expect that they will at least keep going for a few more years in a positive direction. If the employees start bailing like rats from a ship, then that is a sure sign things are bad.

Well I can't speak directly for any of these companies, I will say that an executive that takes pride in what they do and what they build doesn't sell out to a company like Tyco. They surely know the product will not fare as well as it has.

Do we have any idea how independent Exacq will remain under the Tyco name? How much control do other business units (like Software House, Kantech, DSC, or AD) have?

The problem is AD already does video, so you cannot keep Exacq independent from AD. They do the same damn things. They have to make a decision what happens with Intellex, VideoEdge and Exacq, coordinating appropriately.

It would have been a lot easier if Tyco didn't have an existing video offering, but integrating this is going to be painful.

But they also have three access control systems under different names, Software House, Kantech, and CEM. To my knowledge, they're all independent with no integration whatsoever.

This was expected. Rumors about a Tyco acquisition have persisted for the last few years, since AD starting OEMing Exacq.

That said, I am not sure what options Exacq had here. At some point a company needs to exit, either through acquisition or IPO. Unfortunately, the US IPO market, because of Sarbanes Oxley, etc. makes it very hard to IPO unless a company is fairly huge ($100+ million revenue), which is had for surveillance companies because of the limited overall market size. Ironically, it's easier for surveillance companies of similar size in other countries to go public (e.g., Avigilon, Mobotix, IndigoVision, ACTi, etc.).

"I will say that an executive that takes pride in what they do and what they build doesn't sell out to a company like Tyco."

Tell that to David McDonald (Pelco -> Schneider), Pete Jankowski (Loronix -> Verint, Sypix -> Cisco, Next Level - ???) and numerous others...

Yeah, but they didn't sell to Tyco, having pride in what they do

The $150 Million sale price just seems really high to me. To me, that is the most surprising part.

Maybe the Integral/Exacq guys can take this big wad of cash and go 3 for 3?

Will this trigger a round of buying wars between the congolmorates? They always seem to have to one-up each other. If so, who are the likely candidates?

That sucks! TYCO sucks and is going to completely jack it up on a bunch of fronts!

I don't use their hardware because I can design and build my own servers for less with more power, but I like the software. Sure it's lacking some features, but not when you compare costs, ease of use, integration with Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Well, I wouldn't vouch for Schneider Electric either, especially considering how they've run Pelco into the ground. Then you have Honeywell, who screws up just about everything they touch in Video Surveillance. Also, I forgot to include Beat Meier et al, who sold Fast Video Security to NICE, who proceeded to strip the product of everything useful and abandon it.

I cant wait until we get big enough to sell to Tyco!!

Whats about all the hate for Tyco, is it just because they are big or are their products really overprices and bad quality? In what ways have they run products and companies to the ground earlier?

Good question, why the hate for Tyco?

I am not sure 'hate' is the right word, though some may 'hate' them, mostly it's about a lack of respect (for the organization, not the people).

Yes, they are really big and the products tend to be mediocre. As for Tyco as integrator (i.e., the old ADT Business), they have a terrible reputation among end users for screw-ups, indifference, etc.

They might just strip the company down for the technology and leave it as an empty husk... as sad as that might seem, it does happen.

What about me as an integrator, I have just started looking at CEM access control solutions, and if they not get the AC2000 Lite version integrated with Exacq it looks like a sweet combo to me. DCS intruder products also seems nice.

Is the reputation of the companies inside the Tyco security group just as bad?

Typically when any large conglomerate takes over another successful company, their huge corporate heavy policies and old outdated ideas start taking over. That's when the talent and creative driving forces either leave or are run out from the company.

There are many examples across all kinds of tech industries that demonstrates it. I just hope the Exacq developers as well as the creative forces behind the software are at least somewhat left alone and intact.

Fredrik, the reputation varies, though on the video side, they are not much known for innovation. They tend to be slow in new releases and behind the cutting edge.

That said, VMS server software is reaching the stage now where it's more about maintenance and incremental advances than sweeping changes. The innovation in VMS is now more on the edge and in the cloud.

The phones of the code developers have to be ringing off the hook with calls from Avigilon/OnSSI/Genetec etc...

I suspect Tyco is taking actions (either carrot or stick) to make such moves more difficult. That said, I agree that, when acquisitions occur, it provide an opening for rivals to pouch.

With 45K out in Exacq quotes, i'm comfortable with the quotes since those system will remain static during their lifespans. Next year at this time, I'm not sure how i'll feel about Exacq. So I may or maynot be quoting them. I just have to let this run its course :(

What does Honeywell do to respond to Tyco so they can mess up another company in the security industry as well?

"What does Honeywell do to respond to Tyco so they can mess up another company in the security industry as well?'

Oh boy! :)

Honeywell could really benefit from buying a video company. And, hey, maybe this deal increases the priority for a video acquisition for them?

Honeywell had the opportunity to buy Fast Video Security back in 2005/2006but they squandered it with an extremely lowball bid. Then NICE stepped inand the rest is history (Fast division of NICE is, for all intents and purposes, closed).

Many of us agree that Honeywell and Fast could have been a good fit. The Fast Alpha Silver product was one of the most advanced VMS' for its timeand it wouldn't have been much of a problem to keep it current with the best systems available today. NICE didn't see it that way. They lost all of the original development team, either through layoff or resignation, and the rest is history.

John - What video company(ies) do you think are available for Honeywell to purchase?

I suppose any of the independents are available if the price is right. Is Honeywell willing to pay $150 million or more for Genetec or Milestone? Are they going to pay a billion for Avigilon? ;)

My gut feel is that they will go after a smaller company. Honeywell probably doesn't care to pay for established brand (as that is their own strength).

Didn't they buy MaxPro VMS from an Australian company? It seems they already gave this a shot a failed.


When Honeywell bought Maxpro, they were a matrix switch and analog camera manufacturer. That purchase predated VMS'. It was around 1999 +/-. I remember we had an A-D Megapower II switch and were looking at Maxpro and the Pelco 9760 at the time. We bought the latter.

So we know this means a bigger role for the AD AH-DVR but what about other Exacq OEM's, isnt the S2 NetVR based on a Exacq engine, does Tyco keep OEM agreements with S2?

$150 million sounds like a huge amount of dough, but it's walking around money for Honeywell or any of the big conglomorates.

Years ago when I was still doing fire systems, Honeywell ended up buying most of the major players in that market: Silent Knight, Fire-Lite, Notifier, FCI, and Gamewell. Tyco bought up ADT and Simplex (as well as non-alarm fire companies like Grinnell and Ansul). GE bought FAST & Edwards (then sold them to UTC along with all of their security lines). Aside from a few smaller players, you can't buy a fire alarm system that isn't owned by one of those congolmorates.

What I think is going to be the tricky part for the Exacq/Tyco deal is that Exacq pretty much supports all of the major camera brands. The Tycos and Honeywells ususally prefer to sell their proprietary lines of cameras. I wonder how that will work out. Time will tell...

Well, according to Honeywell, they are the most open VMS on the market

As for Tyco, they really need an IP camera line as well (given how undifferentiated Illustra is). And let's start the speculation of an Arecont acquisition :)

I must side with John H. on this transaction. All emotions and past history aside if Tyco allows the entreprenuerial side of Exacq team to grow their offerings with additional development, marketing and brand support the price Tyco paid will be a non issue. Gaining new sales channels while supporting existing channels will provide the growth potential to enable their technology development and market share. Time will tell but I would lean towards a smart move by Tyco that makes a strong statement towards their commitment to growth in the IP video market space.

As an integrator who have been 100% behind Exacq for the past 3 years, we're more than a little concerned.

Tyco have done to surveillance technology what Burger King did to filet mignon.....

This is a hige disappointment, I have been a fan of exacq for years and we sell a ton of it. The first thought that came to my mind was the end of Spaceballs the movie. Not sure what we're going to do now.

I'm glad I'm not the only one that agrees Tyco is going to likely do more harm than good. It's hard to know where other integrators stand on a company such as theirs. I began to dislike them when American Dynamics was charging 3-4x more than any other manufacturer, and offering less than half of the features. I remember seeing $4500 dvrs that were 15 fps!

R - Maybe like GM and Chrysler they are "too big to fail"?

I guess... Time will tell.

I am no fan of Tyco, but I think this discussion has now gone overboard on beating them up. In particular, the Kozlowski debacle really doesn't relate to anything that Tyco security does today. These guys are more hugely mediocre than evil.

That said, I am amazed at how openly negative people are towards Tyco. I thought industry people were scared of Tyco, I guess that's not so much the case today.

Btw, this morning, American Dynamics just sent an eblast via SSI promoting AD's VideoEdge Hybrid, which completely overlaps Exacq's products.

I certainly don't fault AD for the eblast as I am sure this was scheduled weeks in advance. However, it's an excellent, and ironic, example of the redundancy / duplication this acquisition brings.

John, I was simplying comparing the previous upper management with how the company runs as a whole. Apple doesn't fall far. I'll submit.

You're implying that the current company is similar to Kozlowski, who was convicted on "criminal counts of grand larceny, conspiracy, securities fraud, and eight of nine counts of falsifying business records."

Whatever you dislike about the current Tyco Security Products, do you have any evidence whatsoever that they are engaged in any criminal activities like the 'previous upper management'? I see none.

I really think you should stop making such comments / implications.

I guess when I think of Tyco, I really don't even think surveillance. I think DSC, Kantech, Software House, and ADT.

Granted I really only have experience with DSC and a little Kantech, compared to whom I deal with most often (Honeywell) Tyco looks like an amazing company.

At least from my point of view Tyco doesn't market their video as the best on the market, like the Honeywell reps are continually trying to do. Seems like they admit they have shit, and tried to pick up something better.

Exacq had been our favorite all-around VMS package for some time, until the recent Milestone upgrades; now Milestone has kinda taken first place here. But we continue to sell lots of Exacq. I have to say, tho, that the thought of buying anything from Tyco gives me chills. The few times we've had to work with legacy Intelex systems have been unbelievably frustrating - esp. after hearing that Tyco essentially dumped the entire Intellex development team years ago and so could not do anything to improve that system's utter lack of compatability with wireless and modern camera systems.

We've also have had some pretty bad experiences selling to Tyco / ADT. In fact we have a rule (a) never ship them anything without a complete written and co-signed PO with no wiggle room in the wording and (b) charge a Tyco / ADT surcharge to compensate us for the headaches involved in actually getting paid (within 90 days and half a dozen emails, faxes and phone calls if you're lucky). And have you ever seen the vendor forms they try to get you to sign (we refused btw)? All sorts of comletely unrealistic and overly punitive provisions such as you have to provide a brand-new unit if something goes wrong with the old one up to 5 years after installation and pay for their labor, no matter how lousy their original installation job was. Never sign one of these if you value your sanity and your profitability!

I just hope that Tyco really does leave them alone. Past history leads me to doubt that outcome tho.

What is Tyco's history of selling direct to the end users? Is there a risk now that when an integrator goes to bid or sell a job, he/she is going to have to comepete directly against Tyco?

The main risk for integrators is that the Tyco Products side sells it to the Tyco Integration side (probably for lower than what any other integrator can get) who then sells 'direct' to end users.

You can buy AD and VideoEdge products online (like most other manufacturers) but the highest risk seems to be competing with Tyco Integration (i.e., ADT Business).

This was a strategic purchase by Tyco/AD because their lower H-DVR models were built using the Exacq software, customized of course for AD. Once folks realized it was the Exacq software, many decided to just buy from Exacq instead. I have no doubt that AD will continue to use the Exacq product line, but it will remain in the lower levels for H-DVR sales, and provide better economics for AD in the end.

This was not a play by Tyco to add a secondary product line or cannibalize the competition, but rather to make the HDVR line more profitable for an already existing platform. (Clearly, eliminating some of the competition has always been a strong motivation for Tyco too.)

The VideoEdge servers (and newly updated Victor Client software) will always remain a more advanced solution than the rudimentary Exacq software that was supplied on the HDVRs.

So Tyco paid $150 million cash for an HDVR line that has rudimentary software???

Sure, rudimenatary compared to recent releases of the VE Victor Client. Not sure on the details, but the introduction of the Exacq software occured several years ago onto their HDVR platform. My understanding is that AD was spending a hefty amount of money already for the software. The sales of that product line went through the roof for AD so it must have made sense for them in what they project sales will continue to be for their HDVRs. I don't have any details past that.

The Victor client is more like a mini-PSIM providing integration / unified viewing of different Tyco products. I don't think that's a fair comparison to a full VMS like Exacq (which has a broad array of advanced server side functionalities).

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