Spotlight on InfoComm


PSA Acquisition of USAV Opens Opportunities for Collaboration, Diversification

AV and security integration groups could work together on more projects, USAV members may become stakeholders in PSAV after blockbuster deal.

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PSA Acquisition of USAV Opens Opportunities for Collaboration, Diversification

PSA Security's acquisition of USAV was a long time in the making and the strategies driving it are fully embraced.

PSA Security Network had been looking to expand into new segments of the integration world. What president and CEO Bill Bozeman didn’t know, though, is the expansion of the group into AV was only about 8 miles away.

PSA bought USAV Group, a consortium of almost 60 integration companies across the U.S., and CI Edge, an affiliate of USAV dedicated to small and mid-sized integration companies, in an effort to diversify what it can offer to ever-more-demanding customers.

“We looked at our current operation and where it would make sense to diversify,” says Bozeman. “This made the most sense. We have a lot of offerings that are a nice fit in the pro AV space.”

Before the acquisition went through, PSA had been talking to an 18-year AV pro about coming aboard as its new president, says Bozeman. Had they gone that route, though, USAV CEO K.C. Schwarz says he told Bozeman they’d become his competitors.

Bozeman and Schwarz, along with USAV founder and CFO Chris Whitley, started talking about a possible partnership about eight months ago, says Schwarz. While the geographical proximity is nice, that wasn’t the driver for the deal, he says.

“It’s a very good match in how we thought about the world,” says Schwarz. “Cultures can be a roadblock in deals like this but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.”

The talks with PSA led to “considerable discussions” among USAV dealers, says Schwarz. Both groups are taking the future in steps, not forecasting too far out as far as what might or might not happen.

“We have dealers who are fairly loyal to us,” says Schwarz, noting USAV added its 58th member Midtown Video in Miami this week. “When you do something like this, you work on a broad outline and make sure it makes sense, then work on the integration [of the two entities].”

Among the discussions of what the new group will look like is talk about expanded benefits, new education opportunities and possible crossover on jobs.

Both entities have a “heavy emphasis on education and training,” says Whitley.

“There will be opportunities for [PSA and USAV members] to work together, but we’re not going to force it,” says Bozeman. He pointed to video walls in command and control centers as one area that’s ripe for AV and security integrators to pair up.

“As the pro AV industry grows up, dealers understand that providing a broad range of services is important,” says Schwarz. “Why should someone with a reputation in AV have to walk away when the conversation turns to security and access control?”

PSA and USAV have no crossover among their memberships. About two-thirds of PSA’s 213 members are equity partners. That’s something that could become an opportunity for USAV dealers in the future, says Bozeman.

“It’s a nice upside to some of our USAV partners if they’re interested,” he says