Why Google bet $450M on ADT

Google hopes to sell Nest products to ADT’s 6.5M customers

National /
Aug.August 05, 2020 07:30 AM
ADT CEO Jim DeVries and Google CEO Sundar Pichai (ADT; Pichai by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images; Nest via wallpaperflare)

ADT CEO Jim DeVries and Google CEO Sundar Pichai (ADT; Pichai by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images; Nest via wallpaperflare)

Google and ADT are teaming up to go after the burgeoning smart-home market.

In a partnership announced Monday, Google said it will invest $450 million for a 6.6 percent stake in the security giant. In exchange, Google will receive access to about 6.5 million of ADT’s customers to drive sales of Nest products. ADT, meanwhile, will get the backing of a Silicon Valley heavyweight as it competes against tech-driven security solutions.

Although the companies said they’re focusing on residential and small-business customers first, CEO Jim DeVries said the partnership comes with a “long list” of opportunities. “Their investment demonstrates skin in the game,” he said during an investor presentation Monday.

Wall Street looked at the deal favorably – ADT’s stock closed at $13.48 per share, up 56.6 percent from its closing price of $8.61 on July 31. Trading volume on Monday topped 187.1 million, compared to an average of 4.8 million.

Here’s what else you should know about the deal:

1. The most basic part of the deal combines Nest hardware with ADT’s installation and monitoring. ADT will offer Google devices to customers starting this year.

2. ADT and Google are also each planning to invest another $150 million to market and develop new products. The first $50 million is “coming soon,” said DeVries. The next two tranches are based on “milestones that we’re confident we’ll be achieving.”

3. Why now? The global smart home market is massive, with some estimates projecting it will grow from $78.3 billion in 2020 to $135.3 billion by 2025. In March, SmartRent, which develops smart home software and hardware for multifamily landlords, raised $60 million.

4. Smart homes is an area that 145-year-old ADT has been chasing. Last year, for example, it acquired I-View Now, a video verification company, for an undisclosed sum.

5. ADT also has a joint product with Amazon — dubbed Alexa Guard — which links the cloud-based voice assistant to ADT’s security system. Basically, Alexa is able to listen for things like breaking glass and smoke alarms. DeVries said that the relationship “will continue,” and that ADT would still integrate the two systems “when customers request it.”

6. Some background on Google Nest: Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion in cash in 2014. In addition to its flagship thermostat device, Nest also makes smart speakers, smoke detectors and security systems (including doorbells, cameras and locks).

7. For ADT, the Google deal has another key upside. ADT will use the $450 million to fuel growth and pay debt. After being bought (and later taken public) by Apollo Global Management, ADT has more than $10 billion in debt, according to its most recent annual report.


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