Genetec's Position on Axis / Canon Deal

Author: John Honovich, Published on Feb 10, 2015

With one independent IP video company being devoured by conglomerates after another, Genetec is now the last large independent left.

We asked Genetec about their reaction to Canon's deal to buy Axis. Here is their response and our analysis.

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Comments (49)

How quickly this message will change once Genetec gets bought up.....

... It always does.

Alright, it's time to start an IPVM contest as to who will purchase Genetec since we're in the age of consolidation.

I'm going with Hikvision because they need something to expand on their software offerings. Although, I can't imagine the corporate cultures would mesh very well.

Not many options left...

Please disclose who you are as I owe you a beer at ISC... that is too hilarious!

Chris Uiterwyk; Come visit us in the IPConfigure booth!


First round's on me :P

Crazy, just crazy.

And, for the record, Genetec has never been more valuable than it is today.

Canon has now set the going rate for leading video surveillance companies and that is north of 4x revenue.

Plus, since Genetec is a software company, with better margins and less competition, that means Genetec can push for 5x or 6x or 7x revenue valuation.

When someone buys Genetec for $500+ million, drinks are on Genetec... :) [at least for you guys, I don't go out]

David, I couldn't agree more. I'll buy as well.

Would Genetec refuse an offer from Hik?

Well, how much is Hikvision offering? :)

$100 million stock offering definitely not, $500 million cash offering maybe yes?

For Western companies, there is a stigma about being acquired by Asian companies - China even worse than Japan. Fears about being managed by an Asian company, cultural differences, etc.

I do not know what Genetec would do but I have to suspect a Hikvision offer would have to be extremely financially lucrative - i.e., all cash, to minimize the risk, and big dollars, to get over the concerns.

Most of these corporate types would sell their souls for $500 million- does it really matter who's writing the check?

From what I understand, Genetec has very little, if any outside investment / ownership. Now, if Genetec was owned by a private equity firm, like the Caryle Group, I am sure they would do a deal like that in a heartbeat. But given that Genetec is not in that situation, it makes it less clear.

Also, from what I can tell, Genetec is in a good financial position so it's not as if they need to sell.

Ultimately, I am not sure what they will do, but they have leverage. Yes, a few big companies have made commitments (Tyco with Exacq, Canon with Exacq) but there's still quite a few big companies who need VMSes (Bosch, Sony, Dahua, Hikvision, Cisco, just to name 5 that could all afford / justify the deal).

Little or no outside investment at Exacq either- just a lot of cash.

And they sold to an American company, Tyco for cash, not a Chinese one.

I return to your original question, "does it really matter who's writing the check?"

Yes, it does, especially when the target has options / flexibility.

I am not saying Genetec would never sell to Hikvision, I just strongly believe that the offer would have to be substantially better than an offer from a Western company.

[Note: Poster is from Genetec]

Money is only the most visible and merely terrestrial aspect of the situation. Whatever the size of the pile of cash; the real question is: “What a passionate manufacturer like Genetec would do next and in what market?”

What everybody sees is only that: what everybody sees. This is not about money… The few that have the gifts of vision and innovation can see beyond the obvious and not only predict but also SHAPE the future. Money is just a consequence…

Yes, but Exacq was essentailly built to be sold.

Sony Corp. lost $1.5 billion last year and have been in a consolidaton and stop the bleeding mode for a while. I not sure they would be in the mood for this kind of aquisition.

Sony has its struggles though the loss was on $55+ billion in revenue, so they are still quite large. But agreed, Sony might not have the will to pay hundreds of millions for a VMS.

It is a little hard to tell, because 9 months ago, no one I knew said Canon was going to spend $3+ billion on video surveillance manufacturers :)

And that revenue shows what a tiny portion of it security camera sales represent. Given Sony's financial challenges, the new market landscape, and Sony's position within it, they must be thinking that they have to do something significant...or get out of the business altogether.

The same point can be made for Canon, who does $35 billion in revenue, but then spent $3+ billion on surveillance companies..

I am not privy to Sony senior management preferences on expanding or contracting their business so I couldn't guess which way they'll go.

Similar sizes but where Canon's business may be pretty flat, Sony appears to be in pretty bad shape. I don't think you need to be an insider to speculate on their likely short-term strategy in the security industry.

Consumer Electronics notwithstanding, Sony's Security business is actually in quite good shape.

BTW, Sony Corp. as a whole is trading higher now than it has in 4 years.

But we appreciate your concern Undisclosed Disty C...

I'm not concerned. Maybe you could expand on what you mean by "in quite good shape". Very profitable? Gaining market share? Leading innovation?

Whether or not Sony's security business is in quite good shape will probably not the deciding factor as to what Sony decides to do with it. When conglomerates consolidate they look at what core businesses they want to focus on and which don't fit into their strategy. It is not uncommon for profitable business units to be closed down or sold.

I think you guys are forgetting FLIR.

Genetec would definitely be a good proposition for FLIR. The software company they bought in Spain has not been able to get a toehold in the U.S. so Genetec might just do it for them.

FLIR's an interesting choice. They are clearly aggressive about expanding into surveillance and they could definitely benefit from a strong VMS.

Now, are they willing to pull the trigger? They do have ~$500 million cash in the bank and a $4.6 billion USD valuation so they could be able to swing it.

There are a bunch of smaller independent VMSes out there, off the top of my head: Aimetis, Axxon, ipConfigure, Lensec, Luxriot, Network Optix, Salient, so there could be one for every big company.

I think FLIR makes a lot of sense. FLIR has been the market leader in thermal for a LONG time and Genetec in many ways is the market leader in VMS software. Considering FLIR is heavily involved in enterprise level projects just like Genetec the synergies are there.... The big question is does FLIR see a lot of huge projects coming up in the next 5 years that they could package Genetec with and dominate the mega deals of the security industry?

FLIR has been the market leader in thermal for a LONG time

Yes, but that's really not saying much. The thermal segment is pretty small, all things considered.

FLIR is making moves that indicate it wants to be a "general purpose" player, but they're doing so with relative mundane acquisitions at low valuations. I don't think FLIR is presently equipped to take on acquiring Genetec and all the related things that would come with that.

IMO, if FLIR wants to expand, they'll buy an ailing or nacent VMS company for a low valuation.

If you look at the VMSes available (say Aimetis, Axxon, ipConfigure, Lensec, Luxriot, Network Optix, Salient), a few of them I am pretty sure you can get for under $25 million (or less). And in that case, for someone like FLIR, it probably makes more financial sense to pay 10 to 20x less than what Genetec will command, even if that means giving up on the bigger customer base and advanced feature sets that they bring.

While I agree there are cheaper options the benefit of acquiring Genetec would be their diverse product offering for the LPR market and the fact that they have an access control offering as well. All of which Salient/Aimetis/ipConfigure do not have.

IPConfigure does offer LPR for low speed applications (under 40 MPH) and is the only VMS who offers a LPR platform capable of running embedded on a camera. That being said I acknowledge that Genetec's LPR solution addresses high speed applications but at a very high cost comparatively.

I was referring to Salient/Aimetis/ipConfigure not having an access control platform. I apologize if that was not clear from my response. I'm familiar with IPconfig you guys are the cloud based VMS and I have seen your gigapixel camera technology at a port which was rather impressive.

I concur with your Access Control point.

One note of reference, IPConfigure VMS offerings are appliance and/or server based and not cloud based. The primary difference is IPConfigure leverages web browser user interfaces (thin clients) similar to S2's Access Control.

I was thinking Bosch acquiring Genetec would be a really good idea.

There's a long-term existing relationship and Bosch has the money...

Let's see if they want to make it happen.

Would Microsoft buy Genetec?


I don't know if they would, but I am sure Genetec would love it. Both Genetec and Milestone have serious man crushes on Bill Gates.

Microsoft has shown that it's willing to spend big money so they certainly could do it if they wanted to. Hey, Canon got into the VMS business so why not Microsoft?

How about Samsung Techwin?
Should they continue in business under the Hanwha umbrella, it would probably be a good move for them?

Sure, Samsung Techwin could benefit from a strong VMS to complement their cameras. Will they pay the price?

I count'nt see Genetec selling to Samsung, being a private company I think there is allot of personal pride in what they have done so far. I think they would sell to an IT sector company like a Microsoft or a Cisco.

Panasonic was probably on the right track with VideoInsight- perhaps they did'nt set their sights high enough?

Panasonic surely paid incredibly less for VideoInsight than they would have to do for Genetec. To that extent, it's an easier deal to get approved and less risk for them. Plus, I tend to buy the fit between Panasonic and VI for education.

Maybe Panasonic could have did a Genetec deal, perhaps they could have done better in the long term, but the VI deal strikes me as a relatively safe / prudent move.

Interestingly I believe Canon is now going to drive one part of the video strategy in the world. If they keep Milestone and Axis optimized together but able to work independently then the world strategy may remain open and companies like Genetec can have an independent future. If a player like Axis gets packaged in a solution only without driving openess and onvif anymore then probably other manufacturers will follow to protect their business at least in the enterprise world. And in that context I'm not sure how would Genetec be able to survive.

Instead would not Genetec buy niche enterprise manufacturers?

BOSCH should purchase Genetec so they could supply a reliable VMS for their high quality cameras instead of that BVMS/VRM nightmare.

Or better, Genetec should buy the camera manifacturing business from BOSCH. That would make my heart smile.

Karoly, BVMS has and is continually getting better and always evolving. It is far better now than in the past and VRM is what is unique to Bosch. BTW, Genetec fully integrates to VRM and takes advantage of it's unique system architecture.

It seems like everyone is speculating from an internal direction. Why not speculate externally?

How about Nikon? The Sony suggestion may have merit.

Ask yourself why Canon bought Milestone and Axis? When it was just Milestone, one would assume they wanted to help their IP camera line. But why would they buy Axis for $2.8 Billion? Are we missing something? Something with imaging, optics, semiconductors, mixed reality and etc? Or just increasing breadth due to less cameras being sold and not wanting to become the next Kodak or Minolta? I believe we are missing something.

Very valid point in fact, that's exactly why I'm saying that what is Canon going to do will drive one part of the future. And I don't know what they are going to do.

The video surveillance is becoming mature, we can see that through consolidations that are happening today. Big players are entering the arena. So it's now time to bring in:

  • new features and technologies (analytics, enhanced reality, etc...) as you are saying
  • New capabilities in term of scalability (multi-sites worldwide installations or mega-projects uni-site)

For big players, there is no need to invest internally in what does exist already, just buy Milestone and Axis. The real question is what will the Milestone + Axis solution be the base of? If they don't do anything else than packaging then they need 10 years to reimburse their acquisitions. 2015 is going to be a year of change.

Sorry to revive an old post, what are your thoughts on the future of VMS now that the new camera makers seem to be bundling it with their cameras (Tyco/exacq, DW/network optiq, panasonic/VI etc.) or waging price war against each other (Milestone vs onSSI). Wouldn't it be harder for an independent VMS system to survive without a camera maker alliance/marriage?

(please excuse the naive observation from someone who's new to the industry)

Nic, good question. Response here - VMS Market Getting Tougher

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