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Custom Installers Form Alliance

8/04/2003 02:00:00 AM Eastern

A small group of high-end systems integrators have banded together to form a multimarket installation company that they expect to expand into the top 30 markets under the Signature Media Group name.

The group's three founding members are Integrated Media Systems of Sterling, Va., Progressive Audio of Columbus, Ohio, ProLine Integrated Systems of Highland Park, Ill., and a management group led by a former Wall Street executive with mergers-and-acquisition experience. Signature has already signed a letter of intent to buy a fourth installation company, Advanced Audio Design of Sarasota, Fla.

The four installation companies operate showrooms in eight markets and generate revenue of $25 million to $30 million, said ProLine founder Andy Willcox. "We are the largest custom installer in the U.S.," he claimed, adding that Signature will do nothing but get larger. The group's goal is to consolidate about 20 to 25 more companies to create a showroom presence in the top 30 markets, each with populations of at least 700,000, he said. In 18 to 24 months, the member companies will make the transition to the Signature name, he added.

Although the member companies are profitable and well-run, consolidation will enable them to share best business practices to further improve operations and profits, Willcox said. Members will also be able to standardize and consolidate back-end processes such as generating proposals, programming systems, and designing and installing systems. The companies will retain their approximate 100 employees despite the streamlining, Willcox said, "but as we mature and grow, efficiencies will come in future hiring."

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