Milestone Systems Admits IPO Plan Lie

By John Honovich, Published on Feb 27, 2015

Now wholly owned by Canon, Milestone's CEO admitted that they lied about not planning an IPO in 2014, as we reported at the time.

The Claim

To IPVM in 2014, Milestone said, "There are no plans for this right now" and "We continually assess our options for the future of the business."

At the company's 2014 event, they made a big show of not planning an IPO, declaring:

“We’re not preparing for an IPO this week, in two weeks or two months. An IPO is not on our plate at this time.”

and:

"Milestone CEO Lars Thinggaard said going public is something Milestone may do and it “will be great if it ever happens,” but that the company “had not decided to do that.”

The Admission

Now at the 2015 event, Milestone came clean:

"Although [Milestone's CEO] couldn’t share insights about the initial public offering (IPO) that Milestone had been planning prior to Canon’s purchase of the company last year, Thinggaard on Tuesday did discuss their thought process and how they arrived at the decision that partnering with Canon would result in a better outcome than going public."

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Milestone CEO's excuse:

“There is a lot of legal confidentiality to these processes as you know, so I could not go out and confirm anything.”

No Comment Instead of Deception

So instead of simply saying 'No comment' or 'We don't comment on rumors', etc., he decided to manipulate and deceive.

That was Milestone's choice. They could have went the 'no comment' route, which would have been truthful, but they saw the short-term business benefit of deceiving their partners, customers, and the community.

Be Skeptical About Canon 'Independence'

Now, Milestone wants you to believe them about the next critical company issue - remaining 'independent'.

Indeed, at the company's 2015 event, they continued to hammer home that Milestone will be independent, despite being wholly owned by Canon and despite Canon's 'plan' to acquire Axis.

When the day comes that Canon, as 100% owner, decides to cross-sell / combine Axis and Milestone (which Canon would have to be incompetent not to eventually do), surely Milestone's CEO will have another excuse or perhaps will be retired, enjoying the good life, leaving that to a new person to spin.

4 reports cite this report:

Ralph Jensen Defends Lots of Gifts From Manufacturers on Sep 18, 2015
Some trade magazine editors quietly take gifts from manufacturers. Others...
Milestone CEO Book: Why He Aborted the IPO and Chose Canon on Sep 15, 2015
Milestone's CEO just published [link no longer available] a 205-page book...
Milestone's 2014 Financials Revealed on Jun 15, 2015
Before becoming a Canon subsidiary, Milestone made a big deal of releasing...
Milestone Going to IPO? on Feb 04, 2014
A UK news report and conflicting statements from Milestone to IPVM indicate...

Comments (17)

Only IPVM Members may comment. Login or Join.

Just typical corporate speak...Axis announced at their Kick Off event just 2 weeks before the Canon announcement that they were Definitely NOT for sale...

Corp.management believes this type of talk will keep employees and customers from bolting.

"Corp.management believes this type of talk will keep employees and customers from bolting."

They are probably (mostly) right about this, ethics aside.

It's a shame that it's an effective tactic.

Agreed!

Though with many of us that lack of ethical behaviour will be remembered.

Although I am not condoning lying, it may be slightly more complicated than you portray, for a couple of reasons.

1) prior to the 'lie' there were numerous reports of an IPO in the works, apparently leaked one way or another, by someone with knowledge.

2) the 'lie' was an effort to discredit this leak, because of the perceived negative impact to the process itself.

Still a lie but not simply a gratuitous one.

'No comment' is not much of an option here. Because it is similar to the case where a court room defendant, trying to avoid perjury, is asked the following:

  • Did you kill your husband in Dallas? Heavans no, I've never even been there!
  • Then maybe in Memphis? Absolutely not!
  • But what about Los Angeles? I would like to take the 5th.

Point being that when you have truthfully denied an IPO several times in the past, to change your answer suddenly to "No comment" is as good as a confirmation.

Furthermore, as brutal as it might sound, as CEO his loyalty is to the shareholders first. I think that most people understand this is the way it works sometimes, and are unlikely to condemn him for it.

As for your main point about trusting him that Milestone will remain independent, I think that you should believe it as far as it makes sense, but no further.

And in this case he is not even the one who is making the decision...

"'No comment' is not much of an option here."

That's wrong. No comment is a common tactic here. A company can use a more polite of version like, "As a private company, it is our policy to never comment on such matters. If or when we ever go public, we will follow the law for appropriate disclosures."

I am not commenting on your murder analogy since no one here is being accused of murder.

Finally, I agree that Milestone's CEO is not making the decision about Milestone's ultimate future, another manipulative tactic that he/they are taking. In truth, it's up to Canon, as we discussed here.

Its just business, not deception..

I think John is being a bit harsh here, opinions such as this do not help the industry, I wouldnt mind reading a more positive spin on things like this, it often seems negative/bashing for the sake of creating an article to spurring a thread or reaction in comments (which may be done just to increase search rankings etc)

You can certainly feel free to offer a more positive spin. What is your positive spin on this?

As for search rankings, you are missing something about how they work. (1) This content is almost entirely behind a paywall which search engines rank poorly. (2) Moreover, high search engine ranks depend largely on links from other sites. Since this is critical of a major player and is behind a paywall, it's extremely unlike it is going to get many links.

It's a fact that Milestone publicly declared that they were not planning an IPO while they were indeed planning one.

It's my opinion that it's deception, it's your opinion that it's just business. We are both entitled to them.

It's actually really irritating to me to suggest that deliberately lying should somehow be more tolerable because "it's just business".

It like when that group of teenage punks in your area break the law, and the parents just write it off as "well, boys will be boys"... give me a break.

Let's not call it opinion, either. Deception is pretty absolute.

Let's not call it opinion, either. Deception is pretty absolute.

Yes, it's deception. Yes, it's business. Business sometimes involves deception.

And it was beneficial in this case for shareholder value to keep the lid on it. And it wasn't illegal, just deceptive. So he did it.

Anyway I think that people's retrospective perception would have been largely the same even if had said only "No Comment". People would still feel, looking back at it, that he was evasive and not forthcoming, in either statement.

Thanks for the feedback.

Our position is that 'no comment' is appropriate and ethical, unlike outright lying. Some will feel differently, but I don't see 'no comment' as being evasive. Companies are under no obligation to answer any questions to the media or the public. Many do answer questions because they hope it will be beneficial or they believe it is prudent since the information will get out regardless.

Brian, it might be just like the behavior of the teenage punks that can be traced back to the parents parenting skills in most cases....those speaking for the business may not know everything coming down the pike.....poor parenting or deception by design?

Keep in mind Milestone's CEO is the one making these claims.

I understand but....I have sat on a corporate board, not as a CEO, but as a CFO and beleive me, things go on within that structure that sometimes surprise the CEO. I and the CEO worked 2 years to bring a company back from the brink and the first board meeting that we reported "in the black" we were replaced by a major stock holder and his wife. It was a surprise. This CEO also reported 2 weeks prior to leaving that he had no intention of leaving and the new CEO reported to the media that he had resigned for a better position and took me with him.

Just saying that this could be deception by design and not the CEO's design.

The board usually does 'surprise' the CEO when they are replacing him. When planning/road showing an IPO, on the other hand, the CEO is the main actor and would have to be a part of it.

Besides he admitted it already. Or is he lying about knowing?

I might be 'just' business, but it doesn't change the fact that it's still deception.

Milestone can choose this over just saying 'No comment', but then don't expect me to not any have sincere doubts when they try to convince me that they will still be independant in the future as clearly deception just to earn some bucks, isn't something they shun.

I have to agree with you here John. Its too common today to dismiss deception, little white lies that only walk a grey line, that kind of thing.

You are either truthful or you are not. Milestone could have done the right thing and said nothing about it (no comment, etc) - rather they chose to mislead - and that eats away at a company, or person's credibility.

But then again, that really depends on what your meaning of the word 'is' is. Right?

Just because little lies are "acceptable" to some, it doesn't mean it's right.

Related Reports

Avigilon / Motorola VS Virtual ISC West on Sep 29, 2020
ISC West has historically been so dominant that no player would think of...
Hikvision Admits Minority Recognition, Now Claims Canceled on Jul 23, 2020
For the first time, Hikvision has directly addressed its minority recognition...
Directory of Companies Dropping ISC West 2020 on Mar 06, 2020
UPDATE March 2020: UPDATE April 2020: ISC West 2020 Cancelled Again,...
Manufacturers Not Interested in October 2020 ISC West Show on Apr 13, 2020
Manufacturers overwhelmingly say they are not interested in going to the...
ISC West 2020 Cancelled Again, Rescheduled For October 2020 on Apr 09, 2020
ISC West March 2020 was canceled. Now ISC West July 2020 has been...
Intersec 2021 Is Open In Dubai [Now Cancelled] on Sep 03, 2020
While ISC East November 2020 just cancelled and CES January 2021 has been...
UK Firm Markets False Fever Screening, Hikvision Disavows on Jun 30, 2020
A UK security firm falsely claimed its Hikvision-based thermal solution could...
Genetec Goes Virtual, Drops Essen and GSX, Skeleton Crew to ISC West 2020 on May 05, 2020
Genetec is dropping Essen and GSX shows this year as well as planning to send...
SDM To Stop Print Magazine on Apr 22, 2020
For nearly 50 years, SDM published a print trade magazine. Now, coronavirus...
Genetec CEO Declares "We Don't Negotiate Payment With Patent Trolls" on Aug 11, 2020
Are patent trolls like terrorists? Genetec's CEO is coming out strongly...
Milestone CEO Resigns on Mar 11, 2020
Milestone's CEO has resigned, after 17 years on the job but there is no...
School District Admits Not Following FDA Guidelines With 144, No Blackbody, Hikvision Fever Cameras on Aug 21, 2020
The Baldwin County School District has admitted it is not following FDA...
ISC West March 2020 Cancelled, Postponed to July 2020 on Mar 06, 2020
[Now the July 2020 show is cancelled with hopes to run it in October...
ISC West 2020 Removes China Pavilion, No Plans To Cancel Or Postpone on Feb 17, 2020
ISC West plans to go on next month, amidst concerns over coronavirus....
Hikvision Illicitly Uses Back To The Future In Marketing on Jul 03, 2020
NBCUniversal told IPVM that Hikvision UK's ongoing coronavirus marketing...

Recent Reports

Deceptive Meridian Temperature Tablets Endanger Public Safety on Oct 21, 2020
IPVM's testing of and investigation into Meridian Kiosk's temperature...
Honeywell 30 Series and Vivotek NVR Test on Oct 21, 2020
The NDAA ban has driven many users to look for low-cost NVRs not made by...
Ubiquiti Access Control Tested on Oct 21, 2020
Ubiquiti has become one of the most widely used wireless and switch providers...
Mexico Video Surveillance Market Overview 2020 on Oct 20, 2020
Despite being neighbors, there are key differences between the U.S. and...
Dahua Revenue Grows But Profits Down, Cause Unclear on Oct 20, 2020
While Dahua's overall revenue was up more than 12% in Q3 2020, a significant...
Illegal Hikvision Fever Screening Touted In Australia, Government Investigating, Temperature References Deleted on Oct 20, 2020
The Australian government told IPVM that they are investigating a Hikvision...
Panasonic Presents i-PRO Cameras and Video Analytics on Oct 19, 2020
Panasonic i-PRO presented its X-Series cameras and AI video analytics at the...
Augmented Reality (AR) Cameras From Hikvision and Dahua Examined on Oct 19, 2020
Hikvision, Dahua, and other China companies are marketing augmented reality...
18 TB Video Surveillance Drives (WD and Seagate) on Oct 19, 2020
Both Seagate and Western Digital recently announced 18TB hard drives...
Watrix Gait Recognition Profile on Oct 16, 2020
Watrix is the world's only gait recognition surveillance provider IPVM has...
Intel Presents Edge-to-Cloud Ecosystem for Video Analytics on Oct 16, 2020
Intel presented its processors and software toolkit for computer vision at...
Best Manufacturer Technical Support 2020 on Oct 16, 2020
5 manufacturers stood out as providing the best technical support to ~200...
Microsoft Azure Presents Live Video Analytics on Oct 15, 2020
Microsoft Azure presented its Live Video Analytics offering at the September...
Worst Manufacturer Technical Support 2020 on Oct 15, 2020
4 manufacturers stood out as providing the worst technical support to ~200...