Tyco Sells Sonitrol to Group of Investors for $125.5 Million
Tyco Int’l Ltd. has sold off electronic security firm Sonitrol Inc. to a group of three private investors. As part of the deal, Chris Cobb stepped down as Sonitrol president and CEO so that he could remain with Tyco’s ADT division. Kevin Dowd, formerly president and CEO with Checkpoint Systems Inc., has been named Sonitrol chairman and CEO.
Spire Capital Partners L.P. of New York, Carlyle Venture Partners of Washington D.C., and Wachovia Capital Partners of Charlotte, N.C., have combined to buy Sonitrol for $125.5 million. The sale was announced March 29. “By investing to expand and improve Sonitrol’s proven set of flagship audio detection products, the business is well positioned to grow,” says Bruce Hernandez, managing partner of Spire Capital.
Sonitrol has more than 40 years of history, beginning as an audio products company in 1960 before getting into electronic security with the company inventing the audio sensor in 1963. The company was acquired in 2001 by Tyco, which has sold Sonitrol as part of a previously announced plan to divest itself of several of its businesses as a cost-cutting measure.
“The company has a distinguished track record, a dedicated team of employees and a terrific group of franchises,” says Dowd, who is known for building up companies and grew Checkpoint’s revenue from $40 million to $700 million during his tenure that ended in 2001. “The Sonitrol management team is renewed and the staff are excited about the future.”
Sonitrol recently marked the 150,000th documented criminal apprehension made since 1977 by the company with the assistance of law enforcement. The apprehension took place at Santee Elementary School in San Jose,
Calif., on Dec. 30 when Sonitrol’s Silicon Valley central station received an impact-activated audio signal from the school library.
“Apprehensions are a great measurement for gauging the effectiveness and reliability of any security system,” says Bruce Winner, Sonitrol’s education program manager. “No other company has our technology and our high-documented apprehension rate.”
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