NJ-based Diversified, arguably the fastest growing AV/IT integrator in the US, has bought its way into the Canadian market through the acquisition of Toronto-based Advanced Presentation Products.
Advanced specializes in audio visual communications solutions, service and support for enterprise, government and education clients across the country.
“When we recently partnered with Advanced on a complex next-gen solution for a large Canadian organization, I was instantly impressed,” says Fred D’Alessandro, Diversified founder and CEO. “Their values of Quality, Integrity, Service and Excellence fit perfectly into our culture and I have no doubt that our success together will continue to grow in the future and provide long-term value for our clients.”
“This represents the start of the next great chapter in the 24-year history of Advanced in Canada,” says David Weatherhead, Advanced president & CEO. “I am incredibly proud of all that we have achieved to date and I leave knowing Diversified will take the company to great heights while I focus on building my AV rental business.”
Prior to taking over the business, Weatherhead had started Advanced’s rental business.
Founded in 1995, says a press release, Advanced has grown into one of Canada’s most respected AV systems integrator with offices based in the Toronto area. They are Canada’s leader in the design and installation of audio video, digital signage and visual collaboration solutions as well as K-12 education technology including AV, IT, robotics, 3D Printing and other STEAM focused solutions.
“Welcoming the Advanced team into the Diversified family is a natural extension of our existing North American operations,” says Kevin Collins, Diversified’s president. “The opportunity for Diversified to establish a basecamp in the Canadian market with the established support of such a strong organization as Advanced is very exciting.”
“We are thrilled to join forces with the Diversified team,” says Mark McPherson, EVP at Advanced (he’s sticking around). “The diverse solution set that this company offers to not just its clients in North America, but across the globe, is truly outstanding and something we are very proud to be a part of.”
This seems logical. Diversified is a very large player in the US market, but going into opportunities in Canada presented a bit of a challenge with no office in the country. It meant partnering and, I am guessing, sometimes not “owning” the client relationship.
One of Diversified’s major competitors, AVI-SPL, acquired Sharp’s Audio Visual a couple of years ago, giving it a Canadian footprint.
It may not be terribly good news for the likes of Cineplex Digital Media and Stingray Media, who compete for larger-scale Canadian digital signage jobs and have not really had a third contender. There are numerous good solutions providers in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, but none the size of Cineplex or Stingray, and certainly not Diversified.
Advanced itself is not all that big, but the ability to plug in Diversified’s project management chops, experience, buying power and so on makes them a contender.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.