Trivest Amplifies Holdings with ADS –

Buyout shop Trivest, through its platform company Directed Electronics Inc., has acquired certain assets of Phoenix, Ariz.-based ADS Technologies Inc., a privately held designer and marketer of automotive loudspeakers, amplifiers and electronic components. Trivest declined to state the acquisition amount, but did take a majority stake in the company.

Jamie E. Elias, director of Miami-based Trivest, said the acquisition is significant because “Directed Electronics is the largest vehicle security and convenience systems company in the United States by a large margin. But with the acquisition of ADS Technologies (an audio company), Directed becomes a major player in the professionally installed audio sector, as well.”

Directed has sales of approximately $120 million.

According to Trivest, Directed, maker of the Viper car alarm brand name, holds the number one market share position in security and convenience systems for the automotive aftermarket. Trivest acquired the company in December 1999. The firm’s first add-on acquisition for Directed was in July 2000 when it bought certain assets of Clifford Electronics, the number three maker of vehicle security systems. The combined entity gave Directed $100 million in revenue. In December of that year, Trivest hired Jim Minarik as CEO, replacing Darrell Issa, who was company founder, CEO and president, and who was elected to Congress in November 2000. Minarik was formerly president and CEO of consumer electronics giant Clarion Corp. of America.

“Directed doesn’t just sell car alarms,” said Elias. “It’s in a relatively new growth category called remote-start products, which have experienced double-digit growth for at least the last four years.”

Directed has the largest patent portfolio in the $300 million automobile security industry.

Significantly for Trivest, the speaker and amplifier industry is more than twice that size, or $700 million.

Elias said Directed plans on creating a Directed audio division based out of Phoenix, which he called the hotbed of the American audio world. Directed will retain key management of ADS sales and engineering staff, and plans on adding a sales unit in the U.K.

ADS markets its audio products under the Orion, a/d/s and Precision Power brand names. The company’s products are sold through mobile electronics and stereo shops, regional retailers and international distributors. Company sales are around $18 million.

“After our July 2000 acquisition of Clifford Electronics, we were committed to a mobile electronics build-up around the company’s flagship Viper and Clifford brand names,” said Troy D. Templeton, Trivest’s senior managing director, in a statement.

The addition of ADS provides the Directed platform with the brands Trivest seeks, an international presence and access to audio management talent, and such represents a critical step in its strategy to build its business both internally and externally through complementary add-on acquisitions, said Templeton.

Trivest recently closed its third institutional investment fund, Trivest Fund III, with $316.1 million in total commitments.