Securitas Buys Diebold Security NA for $350M

Author: John Honovich, Published on Oct 26, 2015

Securitas, one of the largest security guard companies in the world, with 300,000+ employees, has acquired one of the largest North American integration business from Diebold (see Diebold press release and Securitas press release).

In this note, we examine the relative valuation of the deal, why Securitas is focusing hard on technology and what this means for the industry.

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Comments (16)

I've seen some bids where customers put out RFP's that wanted to combine quard services with technology, where one (mostly guard companies) or the other would provide the technoology. Never seemed to work out. The guard companies would partner with some local integrator who helped offer the lowest cost, who would then install the cheapest equipment that the customer ended up not liking and along with giving poor service, and the next time they put out an RFP they usually ended up seperating guard and technology services. We won a bid where Securitas was being replaced, and I think a good part had to do with their partnership with an integrator having sunk them with very poor service.

So maybe now Securitas wants better control of the technology. But I doubt it would be very sophisticated stuff. Most big companies tend to be very basic and cookie cutter in their approach, like Tyco and ADT, which doesn't meet a customer's unique needs very well. So maybe a threat for integrators who are still in old school mode and don't offer high level technology expertise (like IT centric technologies or high level systems integrations).

Diebold's FAQ does not mention that the integration business will be run separately from the guard business, including separate sales teams.

In the future, if that changed, and they could successfully integrate the two, that would be more powerful. I would think they would want to eventually move to that model, given their strategic outlook.

Agreed, but they may run it as a seperate business for awhile first, in case they can't get a handle on it and decide to spin it off.

Going back as far as the early 70's, guard companies have tried to enter the electronic security systems market, saying that they wanted to be "total security solutions providers".

With few exceptions, guard company owned systems providers have performed poorly, producing mediocre quality installations, and providing less than an acceptable level of service. Usually within just a few years, the guard company spins off the systems business, saying it wants to focus on its "core competencies". I have seen this scenario repeat itself dozens of times over the last 40 years.

Managing security guard operations and managing a security systems business are two entirely different things. Treating systems engineers and technicians like you treat security guards causes talented people to flee. Executives in the guard industry are also used to predictable revenue streams and consistent profit margins. They are often baffled by the uncertainty of the systems installation business ("why did it take you 2 hours to install a camera at one location, and 8 hours to install the same camera at another location?...)

Securitas built a remote video monitoring center and has been expanding this offering.

Btw, SDM has consistently estimated / cited Diebold's North American system integration revenue at $500 million or more, which is evidently way off what it actually is.

Ironically, Securitas used to have a much larger security integration arm in the 2000s but it spun it off, then tried to buy them back in 2011 for nearly $1 billion, only to be outbid by Stanely Black and Decker.

Weird, since

Securitas’ biggest shareholders, Gustaf Douglas and Melker Schoerling, are also among the top-six owners in Niscayah, according to Bloomberg.

Which amounts to bidding on your own auction. Nice.

In my region, Diebold used to have a significant presence in banking. However, over the last decade or so they've lost many of those accounts.

I know multiple regional institutions that have flipped to other integrators. So, local problems have been obvious.

One interesting theme I have heard is that Diebold cut back staffing / costs fairly significantly in the electronics / integration business over the last few years. It appears now that this was part of 'Diebold 2.0' leading up to this sell off. Those actions most certainly improved short-term profitability, though as Brian mentions above, this may have damaged their ability for long-term service and may require Securitas to re-invest / increase spending to maintain revenues or be in for a negative surprise.

I have been in business against Diebold for 30 years. They were Goliath to my little David. As Brian mentions, they have lost some of their ability to sway customers in the most recent decade. For years they have offered a one-stop shop for banking customers. The most important of which was easily the ATM machine and software products. They offered the steel, the pneumatics, the drive-ups, the paper, the pens and the security. They literally have an on-line catalogue business that customers can use for replenishment. They figured out the banking verticle quite well a long time ago. But the hook was always the ATM and it's associated needs. Customers have literally told me that "if I have to have them on-site for the ATM, why not just have them handle the security as well." It has taken years and a lot of work to break that stranglehold.

I don't pretend to know what Securitas has in store for the security portion. My educated guess is they will use it to help compliment the guard business. That is only natural. This purchase will open up some doors for them that they could never seem to open on their own. Financial institutions have cash on hand, and often need guards to protect that cash. And hey, as long as we are here.....

At the same time, there are 1100 Diebold employees. They are not just going to lay down and stop. A lot of them are very good at what they do. Don't expect them to just roll over and quit. They won't.

If you have made your bones on that verticle, and we in large part have, things might just get a little, just a smidge easier. That hook or link, the ATM, is no longer there and that is huge. At least a few die-hard Diebold customers will look around the landscape now; they might be enticed to look at options. Over time, this will make some difference. I honestly just never thought I would live to see it.

Securitas purchased a large share of I-Verify (video monitoring firm out of Charlotte NC) a little more than a year ago and has their eyes squarly on the technology piece. Their past deployments that we are familiar with have been largely a disaster, resulting in a large number of unhappy clients. Several are using the courts to brek contracts, etc... they use technology to leverage and differentiate themselves from their competitors. We were trapped into offering a proposal for camers and access control for a few of their clients and prospective clients only to discover they (Securitas) were offering their own proposal, just a little less than ours. Suprise!

That video is trippy. It's rare to hear someone speak with a slower cadence than President Obama.

Then the twisted logic of "We really wanted to grow the business, so we sold it!", along with anthropomorphic characterization of Diebold ES needing a better home than they could give...

@Mark, according the video, for financial service oppurtunities, Securitas and Diebold will provide a joint offering.

FWIW, in North America at least, I'm thinking the percent of people who could name a Herman Hesse book is in the single digits.

"FWIW, in North America at least, I'm thinking the percent of people who could name a Herman Hesse book is in the single digits."

The CEO is German, from Germany.

His overall presentation is weird, especially trying to tie in Hesse to a divestiture.

n.b. I read pretty much everything of Hesse... a long time ago.

The CEO is German, from Germany.

Yes, German like Hesse. Though the primary target would seem to be North America; the employees and customers of Dieblod ES, Wall Street. Maybe E.A. Poe would be more recognizable, e.g. 'Nevermore'.

What exactly does he say in his second or third sentence:

"It's a major milestone in our Diebold 2.0 transformation where we said 'that in the <sounds like wokface> of our company...' ?"

It is 'Walk phase', what you don't know Diebold's corporate talk? :)

They are walking away from security integration so they can run harder elsewhere.

Here's what it consists of, notice how key cost reductions are (which I believe is a risk to Securitas / the future of their security integration business):

For more, see their 2013 investment presentation which spells this out.

John,

I think he was doing the reasoning for the shareholders but anyone who quotes an elegant passage from Hesse can't be all bad.

Your in Hawaii which is top 3 for my choice but the world of Europe, with it's problems, really do value the humans vs. the work units on the spread sheet. Just a different culture but one I respect and appreciate.

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