AVI-SPL Acquires Sharp’s Audio Visual, Inches Closer to Becoming $1 Billion Company

Published: October 4, 2017

AVI-SPL, the AV industries largest firm, has taking a significant step toward its reported goal of reaching the $1 billion revenue mark. The Tampa, Fla.-based company has acquired Sharp’s Audio Visual, one of Canada’s largest integration firms and unified communication and collaboration providers which is on track for $53 million in 2017 revenue as reported in CI’s 10 Fast-Growing Firms coverage


Also in that 10 Fast-Growing Firms coverage, AVI-SPL forecast its 2017 revenues at $720 million.

The acquisition of the Calgary, Alberta-based firm makes AVI-SPL the first national provider of AV and collaboration technology solutions in Canada, according to a press release announcing the acquisition.

The announcement comes hours after Diversified, the industry’s second largest integration firm announced its acquisiton of MCW.

“Our goal was to substantially increase our local presence and resources throughout Canada, to provide best-in-class services and responsiveness for our customers, while further enhancing our global delivery capabilities to assure a consistent customer experience worldwide,” says AVI-SPL CEO John Zettel in the press release.

“The Sharp’s team brings vast experience, talent and reach to our team, and I am incredibly excited to have them joining our AVI-SPL family.”

It also brings profitability, according to Sharp’s EVP of sales and marketing Tim St. Louis, in CI’s Fast-Growing Firms coverage.

CI reported that although Sharp’s will grow its revenue by only about $3 million from 2016 to 2017, its profitability improved by doing some things that most integration firms have found challenging:

It’s an AV integration firm that is effectively playing in the IT market, so to speak. As a Global Presence Alliance member it has become the No. 1 Microsoft Surface Hub authorized reseller in Canada. Meanwhile, it has built up its in-house IT expertise to create a comfort level selling to its customers’ tech decision-making IT professionals.

The kicker, of course, is that as a result of all of this it’s able to sell more service —profitably.

Adds Jeff Faber, president and CEO of Sharp’s, in the press release: 

“We were eager to jump on this exceptional opportunity to enhance our local offering, and to provide a truly global solution for our multinational customers based in Canada,” said Jeff Faber, president and CEO of Sharp’s. “We are looking forward to the new capabilities and experiences we’ll  be able to provide for our customers.”

The acquisition of Sharp’s is the latest in a series of aggressive expansion moves by AVI-SPL, including:

These aggressive moves are made possible, at least in part, by AVI-SPL itself having been acquired in early 2016 by an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital, a private equity firm managing over $19 billion in equity capital.

Despite the aggressive moves, AVI-SPL remains focused on its ability to deliver solutions in sync with customer demand, said AVI-SPL public relations manager Nathan Legg in CI’s 10 Fastest Growing Firms coverage. He specifically called out UCC demand as being high. “The combination of worldwide coverage, expanded offerings, and performance quality of our managed services team is a highly attractive offering. Enterprise video is the other tech trend that is an important driver to our growth as organizations continue to increase the use of video for their internal and external communications/marketing needs.”

More from AVI-SPL’s Sharp Audio Visual acquisition press release:

AVI-SPL, the global leader in transformative audio visual  and collaboration technology, today announced the acquisition of Canadian integration firm Sharp’s Audio Visual (“Sharp’s”), becoming the first national provider of AV and collaboration technology solutions in Canada. With the addition of Sharp’s to its existing operation in Canada, AVI-SPL will significantly enhance and expand its ability to design, build, manage, and support collaboration technology deployments for organizations throughout Canada and around the world.

Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Sharp’s has eight locations across six provinces in Canada. Founded in 1923, the company is a trusted technology solutions partner for many of today’s most recognizable organizations worldwide.  Sharp’s 94-year history of success is linked to its dedication and track-record of innovation, and commitment to its customer’s needs. Together as one, AVI-SPL and Sharp’s will optimize these values to provide transformative technology that creates meaningful experiences and brand value for its clients across Canada and around the world …

… Following the merger announcement, current Sharp’s’ customers will be provided 24/7 Global Help Desk support and new remote monitoring and management capabilities via AVI-SPL’s Unify ME Symphony platform to proactively assess the health and usage of their collaborative environments worldwide. The companies’ unification will form the industry’s most certified team of engineers and technicians in Canada and worldwide, a valuable offering that intrigued each firm from the beginning.

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