The Comm Group goes the acquisition route

The company buys BPS Systems to expand, adds intercom and security expertise
Tuesday, April 1, 2003

PITTSBURGH - To fill out its portfolio of security and sound system services, systems integrator The Comm Group has acquired one-time competitor BPS Systems.

The acquisition of the neighboring company proficient in telephone and intercom systems and experienced in security and fire systems was completed in early January for an undisclosed price.

While The Comm Group already provided its customers with those services and related products through its Pittsburgh Communications division, the addition of BPS expands its competencies and provides the company with additional employees and an already established client base.

“There’s numerous ways of increasing your presence in a market. The most popular way is to put ads in the paper or go to an employment agency and try to hire people,” said Mike Bieda, vice president of marketing for The Comm Group and one of its three founders. “That’s a tedious and expensive route to go. It’s easier to find individuals and companies like BPS that have the skill set.”

It’s not the first time that The Comm Group has gone the acquisition route to expand its reach. Founded in 1982 by Bieda, Dan Robbins and Joe Hieronimus, the company started out as security systems integrators. It later added structured cabling to provide voice and data solutions through the acquisition of NetComm Technologies and WesComm in1996.

Seven years later, with BPS onboard, The Comm Group currently employs 50 people and is expected to achieve revenues of $12 million this year.

BPS’ owner and president, Paul Caruso, is also now a partner in The Comm Group. For Caruso, joining up with The Comm Group was all about providing customers with a complete solution.

“It was a bigger is better type of philosophy with the merger,” he said. “We are able to do turnkey projects for customers, from telephone and fire alarm to security and sound.”

For now, plans call for BPS to retain its name and continue to leverage its recognition. The company has since relocated from offices in Beaver Falls, Pa., to The Comm Group’s offices in Pittsburgh, about 40 minutes away.

The two companies also intend to tap into additional sales opportunities with existing clients, such as offering BPS’ telephone and intercom customers’ services from The Comm Group, such as structured cabling.

“This allows us to leverage our customer bases,” said Keith Wilson, director of marketing and business development. “We can take advantage of some relationships that each of the companies have and extend those.”