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Chaiken Says Acquisition Is ‘Win-Win’ For Almo, Exertis

In an exclusive interview with SCN, company officials discussed the transition of the pro AV business and how the move will help vendors and customers

On Dec. 14, Exertis completed its acquisition of Almo Corporation. It is the biggest acquisition in the company’s history.

Founded in the 1970s, Exertis has approximately 15,000 employees in 21 countries, though fewer than 1 percent of the company is based in the head office in Dublin. Clive Fitzharris, managing director, Exertis International, told Systems Contractor News that the company’s corporate strategy is built around supporting local management, not managing from a large corporate center.

Warren Chaiken, Almo Corporation (Image credit: Exertis)

To that end, Warren Chaiken will remain as president and CEO of Almo, and the company will continue to be operated by the Chaiken family. Sam Taylor, executive vice president and COO of Almo Pro AV, will oversee the integration of the Pro AV divisions and lead the new combined business rebranded as Exertis Almo Pro AV. Longtime Exertis veteran John Dunne will join the Almo executive team and play a key role in the integration process, with his knowledge of both the Exertis U.S. and European operations. According to Fitzharris, the integration should be completed within the first half of 2022, and the transition should be smooth for customers and vendors.

Clive Fitzharris, Exertis International (Image credit: Exertis)

Why Almo and why now? Exertis believes the market growth trajectory is very attractive and Almo is beating the market. “That’s what we’re buying into. It’s a tremendous opportunity to be the industry leader and have that specialist focus, bringing leading brands and solutions to pro AV integrators across North America,” Fitzharris said.

Exertis made previous acquisitions in North America in 2018, including pro AV distributor Stampede and a leading pro audio and musical instrument distributor JAM. Fitzharris said the combined North American organization including Almo would support approximately 1,400 employees with $2.4 billion in annual revenue.

“As a group on the technical side, we’re looking for leading positions in specialist areas. Our North American technology journey has been very positive,” explained Fitzharris. “Our acquisitions have performed well. And we think that’s just the start. There’s much more that we can do together with the management team at Almo. We will continue to grow and expand for the benefit of our vendors and customers.”

Chaiken said the move was a game changer for Almo and the industry. “This allows us to put two value-added distributors to really service this industry,” he added. “We can take all the great things we do together, learn from each other, and make it better for our customers and vendor partners. This gives us a much larger universe to play in and really help the industry grow.”

Another important part of the acquisition is Almo’s consumer appliance business. Fitzharris said it is the “bedrock of the business,” with a warehouse footprint that’s nationwide and designed to manage large format products. “That warehouse capability is tremendously valuable,” he explained.

Chaiken said the acquisition is a “win-win situation” that will also allow Almo to expand into other territories, including Canada. “It’s business as usual, only bigger,” he said.

“Bigger and better,” added Fitzharris.

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See also: Almo Corporation Wraps Up 75th Anniversary Celebration