Wackenhut Acquisition Deal Finalized


On May 9, Wackenhut Corp. approved its $573 million
acquisition by the world’s second-largest security company,
Group 4 Falck of Denmark. Wackenhut is now part of Group 4
Falck, a $2.5 billion company traded on the Copenhagen
Stock Exchange. Wackenhut’s chief operating officer, Alan
Bernstein, will lead the U.S. operation.

“It’s like giving up your baby,” said George Wackenhut, the 82-year-old founder of Wackenhut, which moved from Coral Gables to Palm Beach Gardens six years ago. The acquisition marks the end of 48 years of Wackenhut family operation.

Bernstein said up to 10 percent of Wackenhut’s 350 headquarters employees, mostly administrative, are expected to be laid off in the headquarters restructuring. However, most guard and other jobs will not be affected, Bernstein said, adding that Wackenhut could hire another 5,000 guards nationally to meet its growing business.

Wackenhut has a total of 68,000 employees—3,900 in South Florida, 6,000 in Florida and 38,000 in the United States.

Bernstein said his mission as head of the U.S. subsidiary will be acquisitions, including smaller security companies, cash-and-transit firms and alarm companies. Entering the alarm business would put Wackenhut in competition with ADT Security Services Inc., a Boca Raton division of Tyco Int’l Ltd. , which has been troubled with high debt and a low stock price.

“With Tyco’s problems, pricing of companies have come down. Alarm companies are something we will look at,” Bernstein said.

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