Securicor reveals pending sale of Securicor Wireless for $36 million
In its May 31 statement of interim financial results, UK-based Securicor described heavy losses at its Securicor Wireless subsidiary and revealed its intent to sell the business.
The most likely possibilities seem to include the sale of a small fraction of the company, including the land mobile radio business, to Kansas City, MO-based Midland Consumer Radio. A source close to the company said that the sale of the land mobile radio business could close by the end of June.
The larger portion of the business might be purchased in a leveraged buyout led by the company’s chairman, Robert Shiver. Tokyo-based Hitachi Denshi also has been mentioned as a possible buyer.
Securicor Wireless has its headquarters in New York, an operations center in Kansas City, MO (in the same building with Midland Consumer Radio) and a research and development facility in Bath, United Kingdom. The company’s enterprises include the land mobile sales and distribution business once known as Midland LMR; a 220MHz network operations and airtimes sales business once known as Roamer One; and mobile data and GPS hardware and software products once known as DataExpress.
A fourth part of the company, Securicor Wireless Technologies (formerly known as Linear Modulation Technology), located in Bath, involves intellectual property rights to a modulation method (“linear modulation”) and electronic chip configurations that facilitate the manufacture of linear modulation equipment.
Securicor Wireless also owns more 220MHz spectrum than any other FCC licensee.
Securicor Wireless posted sales of $8 million during the six-month period ending on May 31 and a loss of $10.4 million for the period, “a clearly unsatisfactory trading performance,” the Securicor financial statement reads. The loss is up from $4 million for a similar period a year ago.
“Due to the length of time required before it can be brought into profit and because of our focus on building a global security business, we have decided not to retain the company,” the statement reads. “Accordingly, we are now in advanced negotiations for its disposal, a detailed letter of intent reflecting a sale price in the region of $36 million having been signed earlier in the month.”
Elliott Hamilton, senior vice president at Strategis Group, said that the price cited by Securicor couldn’t be justified by the revenue stream.
“It has to be the technology,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton said that Securicor Wireless’s customer base also would have some value, especially the airtime customers, although the number of customers hasn’t been publicized. He said it’s possible that no one acquiring the company could benefit from all four of Securicor Wireless’s businesses and, thus, one or more might be spun off after an acquisition.
“It’s quite a collection of technologies and operating concerns for one company,” Hamilton said.
The two-way radio industry could benefit from consolidation, Hamilton said. “I hope that the acquiring company is not some new company deciding to enter the industry. That’s not what this industry needs. Eventually, some company is going to have to start making money.”
Securicor Wireless currently deploys linear modulation exclusively in its 220MHz systems. Free from Securicor, the company might deploy newer digital technology or lower-cost analog FM. Alternatives to linear modulation might give the company ways to deliver wireless communications with reduced manufacturing and operating costs and attractive end-user pricing that have seemed elusive.
Hitachi is said to have developed a method for deploying digital technology compatible with the 220MHz spectrum. Sun Valley, CA-based DX Radio Systems is testing an analog FM technology that also could be used in the 220MHz spectrum.