I am not big on reporting on news “reports” but find myself, for the 2nd time today, relaying very big news in the pro-AV and signage worlds.
Two different online publications have stories up – which likely means they had pre-announcement briefings – about two of the biggest pro AV integrators on the planet merging, making the combined entity the biggest.
The marriage of AVI-SPL and Whitlock was put together by a private equity firm and means the two companies have a combined headcount of 3,400 employees. The blended entity, assuming the deal closes in the coming weeks, will be called AVI-SPL.
Neither company, at mid afternoon, had anything up about the deal. Presumably that will come at some point soon.
Update: Here’s the press release:
AVI-SPL, a leading digital workplace collaboration solutions provider, is pleased to announce that it has entered into a definitive agreement to merge with Whitlock, an existing portfolio company of Marlin Equity Partners (“Marlin”), a global investment firm with over $6.7 billion of capital under management. The two leading digital workplace service providers will combine under AVI-SPL to offer customers best-in-class, end-to-end technology management and support solutions for customers globally. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter 2020. In conjunction with the merger, Marlin will become the majority shareholder, with H.I.G. Capital coinvesting through a minority equity stake.
The merger will combine two like-minded, customer-centric companies with a cultural passion for providing innovative digital workplace services that bring people together and improve business outcomes. Together, AVI-SPL and Whitlock will provide organizations around the world comprehensive technology programs that encompass strategic design standards, global procurement, accelerated deployment, management capabilities, as well as a thoughtful, continuous improvement process.
“This is an incredibly exciting new chapter for our company, our employees, and our customers,” said John Zettel, CEO of AVI-SPL. “AVI-SPL and Whitlock have always shared a mutual admiration and respect for one another due to our similar passion for innovation and commitment to providing world-class customer experiences. Combining these strengths along with our talented employees, strong global partnerships, and worldwide resources will ensure we continue to deliver the very best experience for our local and global customers undergoing digital transformations.”
Upon closing, current Whitlock customers will have access to AVI-SPL’s 24/7 Global Services Operation Centers, as well as new remote management and monitoring capabilities provided by AVI-SPL’s proprietary Symphony offering. The combination will also form the industry’s most certified team of engineers and technicians that are uniquely capable of offering organizations valuable insight and expertise for their vital technology deployments.
“The unification of our talented, passionate teams, as well as our local and global resources, will drive significant value to our customers and employees,” said Whitlock CEO Doug Hall. “Together we are delivering exactly what our customers have been seeking – comprehensive technology management and sustainable support solutions that enhance the end-user experience, increase technology adoption and usage, and improve business outcomes. This is an exciting time for our employees, our partners, and our customers.”
Alex Beregovsky, a managing director at Marlin, added, “The digital workplace services industry has an incredible amount of untapped potential. The combined company significantly benefits from deeper resources, broader technology expertise and enhanced local presence. We look forward to partnering with the AVI-SPL and Whitlock teams to help them fully reach their potential and ensure customer success around the world.”
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.