Wilson Electronics Acquired by Sorenson Capital
Wilson Electronics, makers of cellular phone signal boosters, has been acquired by Sorenson Capital. Buyout will be transparent to integrators from an operations standpoint.
St. George, Utah-based Wilson Electronics, makers of cellular signal boosters, has been acquired by Sorenson Capital. Terms of the deal were undisclosed. Wilson says the buyout will not affect its interaction with channel partners, including integrators.
Sorenson Capital is a private equity fund that makes small- to middle-market buyout and growth equity investments. The company has $650 million in capital under management and typically makes investments of $10 million to $25 million in companies with unique strategic positions. Sorenson Capital is managed and controlled by West Rim Capital and is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Managing directors Fraser Bullock and Tim Layton, as well as principal LeGrand Lewis, have joined Wilson Electronics’ board of directors. Solamere Capital co-invested in a minor capacity alongside Sorenson Capital.
“As a market share and performance leader in its industry, Wilson represented a compelling investment opportunity,” says Lewis. “We look forward to continuing Sorenson Capital’s tradition of taking companies to the next level by capitalizing on Wilson’s strong product leadership and transformational growth opportunities.”
Through easy-to-install antennas and amplifiers, Wilson’s signal boosting solutions provide strong signal reception and reliable data transfer for offices, homes and commercial buildings located in weak signal areas, as well as mobile environments such as vehicles. The category has been a boon to integrators with all the telecom changes in the market.
Wilson has made major strides in introducing cell phone signal boosters to residential integrators, signing up 600 authorized dealers in the U.S. and Canada in less than one year. The company also recently unveiled a unit designed for marine installations.
Why the Change?
“We are thrilled to have found a strategic partner in Sorenson Capital to assist us in delivering improved cellular service on a greater scale,” says Jim Wilson, founder of Wilson Electronics, who will continue to serve on the company’s board of directors. “Through the industry’s most advanced line of cellular signal boosters, we help solve the leading issues facing the cellular industry today – dropped calls and inadequate data access due to poor signal penetration through vehicles and buildings while we boost weak signal strength.”
Wilson has been described as a “serial entrepreneur” in that this is the fourth company he has built and sold.
“With Sorenson Capital on board, we anticipate a significant growth phase as we continue to develop technology and consumer, enterprise and industrial products that drive value for cellular users,” says Robert Van Buskirk, president, CEO and board member of Wilson Electronics. Van Buskirk was recently hired to take over the company under the Sorenson reins.
He says the reasons for the acquisition are inline with what people might expect. “The buyout was motivated by Jim Wilson’s desire to take some chips off the table and take some liquidity in the company. Also, the injection of capital will allow the company to take it to the next level. you can always find investors, but Jim Wilson found ‘smart money’ in Sorenson. They bring more than just money to the table, but expertise… what I call the “Rolodex Factor.’ They bring management experts in human resources, sales, finance and operations. That’s why I am here.”
Wilson is still a minority owner, with Van Buskirk noting that the company will still be deferring to Wilson’s market and technology expertise. The engineering-focused company is currently in the midst of re-certifying all its products to meet the new FCC requirements for cell signal boosters.
“This company is doing well, profitable and growing. I am not a caretaker. This is not a broken company; it is already run very well,” notes Van Buskirk, who indicated Wilson will be looking to expand its presence outside North America. Currently, 80 percent of its business is in the U.S. and about 12 percent to 15 percent in Canada. Asia is among the first international markets Wilson is looking at.
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Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald Expositions Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at email@example.com
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