What Do I Think of Legrand Buying Milestone AV?

Legrand announced the acquisition of Milestone AV early this morning but the rumors of a Milestone AV purchase had been flying for weeks. (Here’s a link to our breaking news story.) There was no question they were selling, but this is a merger of two giant, awesome companies. I can see nothing but fantastic things about this acquisition. Why?

First off, Milestone AV is well run. Scott Gill, the CEO of Milestone, is one of the smartest people I have ever met. And, he’s surrounded himself with a bunch of savvy and detail-oriented winners in Laurie Englert, Troy Peifer and Karen Smidt. And in case you haven’t noticed, they have the best system of integrated brands (behind the scenes with its ERP system) of any of the multi-brand companies. The company’s website, CMS and relationship-management systems are all connected — across brands — as is its order processing infrastructure. This was intentional. I remember the week Milestone started this project — I happened to be there at the headquarters in Minnestoa then helping start a social media marketing plan — and the plan was flawless. Even Legrand doesn’t have this, so in reality, Legrand is “buying-up.” Yes, all the brands that Milestone AV has — companies like Da-Lite, Vaddio, Sanus, Projecta and Chief — are great brands but the back-end systems that Milestone AV has set-up could very well be THE REASON that Legrand purchased them.

The announcement specifically mentioned that Legrand planned to put all the Milestone AV companies under the Middle Atlantic umbrella. As you may know, many of the Legrand brands are HomeAV-oriented while Milestone AV does well in excess of 80 percent of its business in the ProAV market, so the Middle Atlantic connection seems like a good decision.

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Milestone AV employs nearly 400 people and the company’s annual sales are in the range of $460 million. The transaction is worth $950 million based on enterprise value.

Congrats to the people of Legrand as they acquired one of the best run companies in the AV market — let’s just hope they keep those four top-tier people I mentioned above. Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it employs one of the best salespeople in AV in Mark Coxon and one of the best content marketing people in AV too in Joel Hagen. Legrand needs to hold on to these two superstars as well.

Oh, and for all you cynics out there, NO Milestone AV is NOT currently a sponsor (and neither is Legrand) of rAVe. So, NO, I didn’t write this to brown-nose them. We don’t write puff pieces like that — we leave that up to all our competition as they regularly write puff pieces about their sponsors all the time. This piece is 100 percent my personal observation having worked with this team in various capacities (non-sponsor-related) over the past 10 years.