Big Money Coming Into Access (ACRE)

By Brian Rhodes, Published Oct 21, 2014, 12:00am EDT
A company with deep pockets is consolidating the access market, and has already showed they have the capital to pull off big buys.

The recent announcement that Vanderbilt is buying parts of Siemens Security Products is just one more in a series of moves this company has previously made. IPVM estimates this company has spent over 100 million in the last three years purchasing 3 manufacturers. In this note, we look them, the players involved, and the impact of the Siemen's purchase on the access market moving forward.

Access-Focused Acquisitions

Access Control Related Enterprises [link no longer available] (ACRE, LLC) is the operations management arm for a deep group of investment capital companies focused on physical access control. The company lists four major investment firms [link no longer available] as partners, representing billions worth of private equity under management.

The group 's portfolio includes Mercury Security, whom they purchased in summer 2013, Vanderbilt Industries, purchased in 2012, and now Siemens Security Products, which is being consolidated under the Vanderbilt brand. The total purchase price of these companies is estimated into the hundred million dollar range, easily affecting several hundred employees.

The CEO of ACRE is Joe Grillo [link no longer available], a seasoned access control executive, who formerly served as HID Global's CEO during its acquisition by Assa Abloy. Grillo remained in executive leadership at Assa until 2007, afterwards forming ACRE LLC with partner and former HID colleague Will West [link no longer available] in 2012.

Latest Move: Siemens Security

ACRE's most recent move is Vanderbilt's purchase of "Siemens’ Security Products business, part of the Siemens’ Building Technologies Division" provides an established reseller, distribution, and installation channel in the European market. Vanderbilt has essentially been limited to the UK and portions of Turkey, so the purchase essentially opens up a new area of the globe.

However, reciprocation is also a goal, and the Siemens purchase includes access lines like Bewator [link no longer available] and Cotag. While previously unknown outside of Europe, Vanderbilt's purchase will open the North American market to these lines.

Specific details like pricing, future integration plans with other Vanderbilt systems or product development roadmaps have not been released, nor are planned to be ahead of the Q1 2015 deal closing date.

Vanderbilt Getting Bigger

This latest move is one of a recent series to expand Vanderbilt's footprint. In summer 2012, ACRE-owned Vanderbilt bought IR's spun-off access control business, including Schlage's SMS, formerly Geoffery's Access line, and BrightBlue, a small Mercury Security hardware based browser client access platform.  In recent months, the company has launched LiteBlue, a tweaked BrightBlue system that streamlines hardware for very small systems and is capped at eight doors or less.

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Vanderbilt executives have confirmed Joe Grillo will be the new CEO and Managing Director of Vanderbilt International. 

Outlook

The overall impact to Vanderbilt's core North American market is likely minimal, as the acquisition of rather minor and non-differentiated Siemens access brands will likely face tough competition.

However, opening Europe to Vanderbilt's core access brands will be less difficult by tapping into newly aligned established resellers and distributors.

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