Big SnapAV, Control4 Merger-Acquisition: 16 Questions from JJ
Just prior to interviewing SnapAV and Control4 CEOs, CE Pro's Julie Jacobson offers up 16 questions about the merger/acquisition of two home-tech giants.
I have just a few minutes before my interview with SnapAV about their (impending) acquisition of Control4 (Nasdaq: CTRL), a leading home-automation provider and the only one in its class that is publicly listed. And then there will be none.
Its “class” is the mid- to -high-end market for integrated smart-home systems, networking, audio, video, lighting control, energy management and other home-technology solutions installed by authorized dealers, never direct-to-consumer.
The two companies announced today before the opening bell that they would "merge," with SnapAV acquiring the Control4 in an all-cash transaction for $23.91 per share.
CTRL is now trading at $24, up $6.88 or 40.19% for the day.
Stay tuned for the interview ...
Here are some M&A questions to get the ball rolling ...
1. Do you remember this one from mid-2017? Rating the Prospects: After Acquisition of SnapAV, What Major Home-Tech Co. Will H&F Buy Next? I believe I gave Control4 the highest chance (8 out of 10) of being acquired by SnapAV or its private-equity owner Hellman & Friedman. Do I get a prize?
2. The rumor about SnapAV acquiring Control4 – or vice versa – has been swirling for many years. Have the two companies been negotiating all that time? Presuming so … why now?
3. What does Control4 think it can gain from SnapAV and vice versa?
4. Now that SnapAV owns a few distributors and presumably will acquire more for national coverage, will Control4 find its way into distribution?
5. Control4 hired Charlie Kindel, a key architect of the Amazon Alexa smart-home initiative, less than one year ago. Was the SnapAV plan in play then, and is there a specific role for him in the combined company?
6. Control4 has remote-systems monitoring and management platforms through its own Pakedge networking group, as well as the dedicated remote provider ihiji acquired last year. How will those services play with SnapAV’s similar service OvrC, which easily has the largest market share and mind share in the channel?
7. There doesn’t seem to be too much overlap in products between the two companies except for networking gear, which is a biggie. Is there a reason to continue developing and supporting both Pakedge and SnapAV’s offerings?
8. SnapAV recently teamed up with Clare Controls for home automation. While Clare has a more mass-market focus, it does compete with Control4 fairly effectively for many in a whole lot of ways. How will SnapAV reconcile the two business?
9. Similiary, both Control4 and Clare are chasing home builders. How will that business be divvied up?
10. Was the forthcoming merger the reason you didn’t outright acquire Clare?
11. I always wished Control4 would have a user interface like Clare, which provides so many personalization options for end users. Control4 is getting closer, but even with it’s IF/Then/When engine doesn’t quite compare to Clare’s elegance in this area, I don’t believe. Will Control4 exploit Clare’s UI expertise and implementations?
12. SnapAV demonstrated a pretty sweet self-contained security and Z-Wave home-automation system last month at ISC West. They already mentioned it would integrate with Control4 (and others). Do Control4 and Clare have big plans for the panel through their respective channels/product integrations?
13. I guess it’s now clear why Control4 hasn’t acquired a surveillance camera company over the years, right? SnapAV has a strong offering including Visualint for video analytics. What kind of role will those cameras take in the Control4 world?
14. With Control4 so strong in Europe, will we finally see SnapAV tapping that market?
15. Will you miss being a public company, sharing all your business intelligence, investing so many resources filing papers, and trying to meet investor/analyst expectations every quarter?
16. Which analyst will you miss most?
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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