Vivint Inc., the Provo-based solar, security and home automation company, will be acquired by global investment firm Blackstone Group LP, valuing the company around $2 billion and making it one of the biggest deals in Utah history.
“Having Blackstone behind us supercharges our ability to continue growing the company and the technology and services we will roll out over the next few years” including international expansion, home health care and solar, Todd Pedersen, chief executive officer of Vivint, said in a telephone interview.Related story: Vivint Corporate Headquarters (Weston Colton, )
“I was sick to my stomach two days afterwards,” Pedersen said. “I don’t know how I turned it down, but I did. But back then I thought we could become a $10 million company. Honestly, the $2 billion number probably started hitting my head two years ago. Now, our sights are much higher than that.”
Blackstone will replace Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Jupiter Partners LLC and Salt Lake City-based Peterson Partners, who combined own about 50 percent. The private equity firm is also purchasing portions from Vivint management. The investment firm will own 75 percent of the company while the other 25 percent will remain with management. Those numbers are subject to change, Pedersen said. The deal will be finalized by the end of the year, he said.
“Our investors have been in it for six years,” Pedersen said. “This is a tremendous upside run in their equity that we’ve created for them, so this is an unbelievable exit for them.”
Pedersen, Vivint’s CEO, will stay on with the company after the acquisition and for “as many years as they will allow me.”
“I’m still young,” Pedersen, 43, who has a wife and five children, said. “I think I still have another 17 years in me.”
Pedersen, who owns more than 25 percent, will be selling half of his share in Vivint to Blackstone.
Though the company is being acquired, Vivint’s management team and operations will stay in Utah, Pedersen said.
Vivint, which employs about 7,000 people, has been working with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup to find a buyer since earlier this month. The company plans to add another 1,200 to 1,500 employees by the end of 2013, Pedersen said.
The company, formerly known as APX Alarm Security Solutions, is expanding into home automation, which allows residents to turn off appliances and monitor energy costs remotely among other services.
The company earns about $360 million a year. Vivint also added 170,000 new customers in 2011.
"We're not trying to be that system that is $1 million in up front costs; we're trying to sell to every American," Pedersen previously told the Deseret News at his Provo headquarters. "The objective is simplifying life, increasing energy efficiency and protecting families."
Blackstone, the investment firm purchasing Vivint, has holdings in companies such as Leica, The Weather Channel, Hilton Worldwide and Apria Healthcare.
The transaction between Blackstone and Vivint will be in cash and not stock, Pedersen said.
“I asked for it to be paid in gold,” Pedersen, who plans to buy a new Dodge truck, said. “But they will not pay me in gold. They told me.”
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