Tampa, FL (February 6, 2020)—AVI-SPL and Whitlock have agreed to merge under the AVI-SPL name (and CEO), which will create the world’s largest AV integrator, with a turnover of $1.3 billion and 3,400 employees around the globe.
The newly merged company, which will retain the AVI-SPL name, will have Whitlock’s Marlin Equity owners as a majority investor, with current AVI-SPL investor H.I.G Capital holding a minority stake. The transaction is subject to closing conditions and is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of this year.
John Zettel, CEO of AVI-SPL, who will also be CEO of the merged company, said, “This is an incredibly exciting new chapter for our company, our employees, and our customers. AVI-SPL and Whitlock have always shared a mutual admiration and respect for one another due to our similar passion for innovation and commitment to providing world-class customer experiences. Combining these strengths, along with our talented employees, strong global partnerships and worldwide resources, will ensure we continue to deliver the very best experience for our local and global customers undergoing digital transformations.”
Marlin Equity announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Whitlock in September 2019, when it had $6.7 billion in equity capital under management. Whitlock provides AV and video collaboration services across a variety of industries, and delivers its solutions through the Global Presence Alliance, a global network of 30 AV and VC companies that span six continents and employ thousands of AV and VC professionals.
AVI-SPL was acquired by H.I.G Capital in 2016, when the investment company had $19 billion of equity capital under management. At that point, AVI-SPL had 1,500 employees throughout 35 locations worldwide, with 29 offices in the US and 6 internationally (in Canada, the UK and UAE).
Zettel added, “I do believe when you look at Whitlock and AVI-SPL … we have the same DNA of where we are coming from. You can look back at the acquisitions before this merger. Both offices (AVI and SPL) were well-performing offices with full capabilities that were needed to serve the customer base of both offices combined. That’s the general philosophy of this merger as well.”
Whitlock CEO Doug Hall said, “For years, we’ve competed with AVI-SPL. We’ve worked hard on the culture for our team … we always felt like we were extremely unique in how we did that. Now that we’ve had the chance to dig a little deeper, we’ve realized both companies share that (culture).”
When the AVI-SPL Whitlock merger is complete, Whitlock customers will have access to AVI-SPL’s 24/7 Global Services Operation Centers, as well as remote management and monitoring capabilities provided by AVI-SPL’s proprietary Symphony offering.
As recently as 2017, Whitlock told Commercial Integrator that it intended to acquire AVI-SPL’s business…”one customer at a time.” The quote was attributed to Whitlock VP Julian Philips, who added, “I would rather put my money into investing in customer relationships than investing in other companies.”