Spotlight on InfoComm 2019


Anderson AV Fits AVI-SPL Like a Geographic Glass Slipper

AVI-SPL pursued Anderson AV agressively to bolster its Western U.S. presence and ability to serve California’s technology sector.

When a company with $19 billion in equity capital talks, other companies tend to listen.

That was especially true for AVI-SPL, the AV industry’s largest integration firm with $600 million plus in annual revenue, when it was being acquired by H.I.G. Capital, a global private equity firm that manages more than $19 billion in equity capital, in spring of 2016.

H.I.G. noted and AVI-SPL agreed that it “needed an acquisition in the Western part of the U.S.,” recalls AVI-SPL CEO John Zettel.

“That was the genesis,” he says, one day after announcing that Tampa, Fla.-based AVI-SPL has entered an agreement to acquire San Diego-based Anderson Audio Visual and its six locations across the U.S. including four in California, one in Texas and one in North Carolina.

AVI-SPL began its search and its market analysis. Then, “We closed with H.I.G. and went really hard to the hoop working to close the Anderson deal,” Zettel says. 

Targeting California’s Tech Sector

AVI-SPL, which already has offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, sees the acquisition of Anderson and its four California locations as a way to bolster its ability to serve the tech sector in California.

Zettel says there is plenty of room for growth when it comes to providing technology companies with integrated solutions and calls California “a hotbed” for that market.

“We closed with H.I.G. and went really hard to the hoop working to close the Anderson deal,” Zettel says.

Anderson AV, meanwhile, “had established deep and long relationships with many companies that frankly we had been targeting for a long time,” he says.

“That’s why it really checked the box in that it was the company that we wanted to pursue [especially with] the geography and those sectors.”

Anderson AV, for its part, was actively pursuing partnerships. “We were looking at opportunities and options, yes,” says Shane Parkes, Anderson AV co-founder and CEO.

After initial discussion it became clear that bringing the two companies together made “nothing but sense,” Parkes says. “We were a strong presence in the markets we were in and AVI-SPL was also strong there. It made a lot of sense to combine resources and be a force to be reckoned with in those markets.”

The complementary benefits go both ways and extend to Anderson’s existing customers, according to Parkes. One reason he says Anderson is excited to join the AVI-SPL family is that “we’ve been somewhat limited given our geographic reach.”

He refers to customers with global system requirements that Anderson hasn’t been able to deliver. “So we’re very excited to now have a global presence and be able to bring that to our customers on a world-wide level if they require that.”

AVI-SPL, Anderson AV Next Steps

Being acquired by $600 million plus AVI-SPL is a good thing for Anderson AV and its employees, says Parkes. “It’s an exciting time for Anderson. This is all about growth and expanding both platforms as we go forward.”

All Anderson employees continue to have roles, Parkes says. “As we move toward the integration [of the two firms] we’re going to fine-tune that.”

Parkes maintains that the acquisition brings more opportunities for Anderson employees. “We’re looking for additional bodies. We’re always on the search for new AV talent, so this is going to be an expansion on that. We’re going to speed up, not slow down.”

For Parkes personally, he says he’ll work closely with AVI-SPL during the transition. “Then once we’re done with that John [Zettel] and I will sit down and explore opportunities within the company and see where it takes me.”

AVI-SPL, meanwhile, continues to explore opportunities of its own. With H.I.G. capital behind it, the integration firm is clearly focused on pursuing potential areas of growth. In September 2016 AVI-SPL expanded its European presence with a new office in Germany.

While Zettel won’t say what’s next for AVI-SPL he acknowledges that it’s far from done pursuing growth opportunities.

“We’re extremely excited about the future. With all the dynamic changes happening in our industry we just think there are a lot of opportunities ahead.

“AVI-SPL is going to continue to look at opportunities to expand our growth by focusing on geographic [opportunities], bolstering sectors we can serve more robustly, advancing our platform, finding new technologies that are in demand for our customers , focusing on the whole new workplace transformation arena and we are going to continue to go down that road.

“We are also fortunate that there are a lot of opportunities out there,” says Zettel.