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Archive for Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Board of Lawrence-based Protection One considers sale of security company

January 20, 2010

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Protection One Inc., the only publicly traded company that is based in Lawrence, announced Wednesday that it was launching a review of strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company.

The company, with headquarters in the I-70 Business Center at 1035 N. Third St. in North Lawrence, provides electronic monitoring services for residential, commercial and wholesale customers.

Protection One came to Lawrence in November 2004, after being sold off by Westar Energy in Topeka. Protection One now has 73 employees in Lawrence, including senior management, back office, finance, administrative, payroll, human resources and accounting personnel.

Protection One has 715 employees in Kansas, including 620 in Wichita, where they work out of a branch office and a customer service center. The company also has a branch office in Lenexa.

“The Protection One team has made great progress transforming our business over the past six years,” said Robin Lampe, a Protection spokeswoman. “We believe that the capital markets have improved such that this is an opportune time for us to determine what interest there may be in our company, as we pursue maximizing value for our shareholders.”

On Monday, Tyco International Ltd., which owns industry leader ADT, announced it would acquire Brink’s Home Security — which operates as Broadview Security, the industry’s No. 2 company — for about $2 billion in cash and stock.

Protection One, which is No. 3 in the market with more than 1 million monitored accounts, is controlled by two investment groups: Quadrangle Group and Monarch Alternative Capital, which together own 70 percent of the company. Protection One shares, which trade on the Nasdaq Stock Market, opened Wednesday at $7.80 and had climbed to as high as $8.80 soon after the company’s statement was released. Shares were trading for $8.25 by late morning.

In its statement, Protection One said it had hired J.P. Morgan to advise the company’s board of directors in a process “to explore and evaluate strategic alternatives,” including a possible sale. No timeline was set.

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