Baar-Zug, Switzerland, 14 July 2015
Partners Group to sell US security services firm Universal Services of America
Partners Group, the global private markets investment manager, has agreed on behalf of its clients to sell its controlling interest in US security services provider Universal Services of America (Universal) to an affiliate of Warburg Pincus, a global private equity firm focused on growth investing. The transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks.
Universal is a US security services firm which provides a diverse mix of security and facility services, ranging from traditional manned guard services and janitorial services to cutting-edge technology systems. Partners Group invested in Universal on behalf of its clients in 2013, having previously been an investor in the company through its Private Debt business. Over the past two years, Partners Group has worked in close partnership with the Universal management team, led by CEO Steve Jones, to complete over 20 acquisitions and also grow the company organically, resulting in a growth rate five times greater than the industry average. One further significant initiative has focused on establishing appropriate processes and measures to ensure the company is able to preserve its corporate culture and industry-leading employee retention rate in the face of such rapid growth.
During Partners Group's holding period, the number of Universal employees has increased to over 44'000 from over 27'000, while revenues have climbed by more than 80%. Today, Universal is the fourth largest security services company in the US and is ideally positioned to continue its growth trajectory through further organic growth and add-on acquisitions. Partners Group will remain a minority investor in the company on behalf of its clients following this transaction.
Steve Jones, CEO of Universal Services of America, comments: "Our partnership with Partners Group has created substantial value and accelerated our growth trajectory. Today, we are one of the leaders in the US security services industry, which continues to be a highly fragmented market, and are in a great position to further benefit from the potential for consolidation. We are very much looking forward to the next phase of growth under the stewardship of Warburg Pincus and remain dedicated to providing outstanding service to our clients."
David Layton, Managing Director and Head of Private Equity Americas at Partners Group, states: "We have greatly enjoyed working with Steve Jones and the rest of the outstanding management team at Universal in the past two years. We are very proud of the growth that we have supported with our investment– not only has the company substantially increased its market share and financial performance in the last two years, but it has also taken the right steps to ensure clients and employees remain engaged and committed as the company grows. We look forward to the next chapter of growth at Universal."