Is Bosch buying Arecont Vision?


Let me start this blog post by saying I'm addressing a rumor without trying to perpetuate it. I have received more than one "tip" that Arecont Vision has been purchased by Bosch. Supposedly, this happened right before ISC West, and will be announced any day.

As a reporter, I did my due diligence. I called people at both Bosch and Arecont, whom I trust, and asked them whether there were truth to the rumors. Initially, the Bosch person claimed total ignorance, but said she would get back to me. Initially, the person at Arecont was prepared for the question, but said it was only because that person had already been asked the question and was aware of the rumor. That person said the rumor was likely created by the fact that the company did announce they were holding a press conference prior to the show and didn't tell anybody what it was about. Because we're in a consolidation rut right now in the industry, many people jumped to the conclusion they were announcing an acquisition. Then they simply announced they were part of a coalition of companies securing the World Equestrian games.

I was pretty close to letting it drop at that, and was going to chalk it up to the kind of rumor I make calls on all the time and that amount to nothing.

Then I got a call from Becky McDonald, spokesperson for the Robert Bosch company, based in the corporate offices above the security portion of the company. This was our conversation:

"Her: I know nothing about an acquisition or anything about that. I can tell you it's not that you missed anything. It's not announced. We look at business opportunities on a regular basis, but we don't comment on or speculate about these things.

Me: That doesn't sound like a no.

Her: It's not intended to sound like a yes or a no. There's isn't any information that I could give you in either direction.

Me: You know that's going to fuel my speculation that the rumor is true, right?

Her: That's entirely up to you. We do look at companies from time to time when they're of interest to us, but we don't comment or speculate at all on anything until we're ready to make an announcement."

Now, in my world, that roughly translates to: "Yep, we're gonna buy them, we're just waiting to cross some Ts and dot some Is."

However, it's also true that these things fall apart for various reasons and there's a good reasons why big companies like Bosch don't go just announcing things and confirming things before they're actually done deals. Maybe it's a done deal, and they just want to work out the details of the press release. Maybe it's not close to a done deal, but there are certain elements at either company who really want it to happen (or not) so there are rumors being put out there to try to push it one way or the other.

Regardless, when I get an answer like that, I certainly call the other company back and try to get something on the record. So I called Raul Calderon, vice president, strategic relations at Arecont, because I've got a decently long relationship with him and have interviewed him a number of times, and asked him for something on the record about whether Arecont is being bought by Bosch, and I showed him the exact conversation I had with McDonald.

After a greeting, this is how he replied, via email: "Regarding your inquiry below, we don't comment one way or the other."

That's not exactly telling me that I'm barking up the wrong tree. In my world, that translates to: "See, I'm smiling right now, but I really wish you hadn't asked me that question and I want to tell you 'no,' but I'm not a huge fan of lying, and I might send a press release out about this tomorrow, so I'm going to go with this."

Is Bosch buying Arecont? If I had to lay down a bet in Vegas, I'd probably say yes. But don't be shocked if this all amounts to nothing and basically they're in some talks, but it's a lot like that trade where Mike Lowell was going from the Red Sox to the Rangers this winter: We agree in principle, but there's still a physical to be done.


[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sam_Pfeifle. Sam_Pfeifle said: Is Bosch buying Arecont Vision? [...]

Sam, That rumor has been around for a while now. I think the fit makes sense strategically between the two companies.

As for the media/publishing world, I am curious as to what guidelines should be used in reporting on rumors. As an example, I have multiple independent sources telling me 2 of largest VMS companies are going to be bought out. On the other hand, I don't have any real facts to back it up. I think this is similar to your post. 

My policy is not to publish rumors unless I have a mainstream news article validating the acquisition (e.g., Orsus/NICE and ioimage/DVTel).

Hey John,
I think the web provides opportunity for total transparency of how media works and I tried to use it here because of the responses I got from Bosch and Arecont. I had a source with direct knowledge of one of the companies telling me it was happening, plus a second source that repeated both the rumor and provided certain details that were consistent with the first source. Actually, I got another tip that Honeywell was buying Arecont, but didn't have any corroboration there.
As I say in the post, I was very close to just dropping the story where it was, but the Bosch spokesperson just kept answering in a way that seemed to be telling me something, and I think the story is newsworthy since a big portion of my readers work with either Bosch or Arecont, so I outlined my experiences as I did above and I tried make it clear that I don't know anything for sure. While I'm sure someone like you has heard this rumor a number of times, I don't think my average reader necessarily has the same sources.
For example, I would not run this now as a "straight" news story. But, as for waiting for a mainstream publication to put out the story, wasn't that ioimage/DVTel story basically a published rumor? I couldn't exactly read it in the original Hebrew. Why should a mainstream publication get first dibs?
I made Red Sox analogy for a reason - sportswriters publish rumor and potential deals all the time. I don't see why it's not fair game here as long as you show your cards and make it clear you don't have anything definitive one way or the other.


You by saying, "Let me start this blog post by saying I’m addressing a rumor without trying to perpetuate it."  You are obviously going to perpetuate the rumor. It's naive to think otherwise.

Ultimately, this is each publication's choice but I do not want to emulate the practices of sports journalism. While I am fine with criticizing companies, I do not want to base my analysis on off the record comments of others. I'd rather base it on test results, citations of public references or audited financial statements.

As for DVTel/ioimage, there were 2 mainstream publications with articles already posted. I had 3 Israeli contacts provide translations of the story (in addition to seeing it myself using google translate). Lastly, a principal in the transaction confirmed the completion of the deal.

I'm not perpetuating a rumor if I'm vetting it. I actually called people and asked them for the answers to questions and then published the answers. How is that perpetuating a rumor? People can judge for themselves what those answer mean.
Further, I never thought I'd see the day that a writer covering the security industry looked down his nose at sports journalism as an entire profession. I'd love to be the writer that Peter Gammons, or David Halberstam, or Tom Verducci, or any number of others are. All of them have relied at times on sources they have cultivated through gaining trust and having personal relationships that engenders that trust, and then using that information to ask questions that produce interesting answers. That you would boil "legitimate" reporting down to tests, audits and public references is far more naive. Where would the profession of journalism be if that was all that was allowed? To be hyperbolic, I'm glad Woodward and Bernstein didn't wait for the press release. Things can very much be true even if they're not published for public consumption by an entity approved by you. You can, of course, choose to write about whatever you want, John, but you're off the reservation here when it comes to trying to define accepted journalistic practice.
It's amazing to me that someone with your oft-displayed skepticism would stamp information published in "mainstream" publications and "public references" as true and legitimate, but things told to you in trust and confidence by people you know as illegitimate.

Your post reads more like Perez Hilton than Woodward & Bernstein. You spoke with the companies. They would not confirm or deny it. However, your 'spidey sense' went off on the way they said it. I do not see how that is vetting.

And yes, Sam, I take audited financial statements to be more legitimate than what an executive at a manufacturer or integrator tells me (this is how I was able to discern how bad financially DM is doing while you praise them based on an interview with their executives). I also take references from the NY Times or other 3rd party sources as more valuable because they are public and allow my readers to validate for themselves.

I think it is great that you actually care about finding and reporting on new information. The industry is too full with magazines that simply cut and paste press releases. I also would not be surprised if the rumors turn out to be true. I simply disagree with the timing and the supporting evidence that you have in running the item with what you have today. To me, it's dangerously close to gossip.

John, John, John: This is the wrong tack. You're losing with the journalistic instincts stuff...where he might be vulnerable is with his betting instincts. See that line where Sam says, "if I were to lay down a bet in Vegas." Ask him how the betting went last Friday.

I like this story. Obviously, you cannot address a rumor without purpetuating it, but by clearly laying down 1) the rumor, and 2) all responses from parties involved, and 3) the analysis of the rumor, the responses, and all possible ramifications of all possible outcomes, the readers can better evaluate the probably truth to the rumor themselves. Yes, it was more Perez Hilton than Woodward & Bernstein, but Perez Hilton serves a useful purpose, too (to be entertaining and informative... and I've never had the urge to punch Sam, so advantage Security Systems News). Besides, SSN already has Bernsteins & Woodwards working for them.

Sam, any further updates on the topic?

I haven't heard anything further, other than a few emails I've received after the fact that aren't worth reprinting. I keep expecting, honestly, to get a press release along these lines any day. I think the longer we don't hear anything, the more likely it is that it's not happening, but I guess that's not exactly astute analysis on my part.
Truly, the thing that makes me most think it's going to happen is that I haven't received a pissed off email from either Arecont or Bosch, which is what usually happens when I screw something up.