In the Wake of a $45M Deal for Henry Bros., Some Historical Perspective
Following yesterday’s big news that Henry Bros. Electronics will be sold to Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc. for about $45 million, it’s interesting to consider the company’s upward path since its humble beginnings.
As with so many installing security companies, Henry Bros., as its name would suggest, has strong familial roots. Founded in the early 1950s as a simple electronic repair shop by John Henry and his brothers Ray and Hank, the proprietors would soon expand into commercial electronic communications systems.
No less than Motorola took notice of Henry Bros.’ reputation for quality service and reliability. And so by 1960 the company became an official Motorola service shop, subcontracting system design, installation and project management services to customers of the telecommunications giant.
Henry Bros.’ growth and expertise led it to be acquired in 1985 by CGI, the large information technology and business process services company. From there, upheaval and disenchantment set in for Jim Henry – John’s son – who had stayed on to work under the CGI umbrella.
“My view of the future and their view of the future was not the same. It was only four years into that when I bought back the name Henry Bros.,” Henry told me yesterday, following the announcement of the Kratos buy.
In 1989 at the time Henry led the buyback of the company’s namesake and security installation business, physical electronics systems integration was in its infancy, though Henry says he sensed “it was a real growth vertical.”
With less than $1 million in annual sales, Henry started anew, building the company through the 1990s and eventually going public in 2001 as an $11 million entity. A handful of significant acquisitions would follow. As an example of how far the company had come, Henry Bros. landed a real plum of a deal in 2008, teaming with L-3 Communications on a three-year project for the U.S. Marine Corps valued at more than $327 million.
As Henry explains it, being acquired by Kratos represents the “fifth chapter” in the company’s 60-year history. Note “chapter” – not conclusion. Henry says he has no plans to ride into the sunset following completion of the Kratos deal, which is expected to reach fruition by the end of the year.
Says Henry, who is an SSI Editorial Advisory Board member, “I am going to work harder going forward than I ever worked before. There is no retirement for me.”
Rodney Bosch | Managing Editor
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