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Tech merger creates $1.3 billion Tampa company

Margie Manning

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AVI-SPL, a digital workplace services provider headquartered in Tampa, will merge with Whitlock, a Richmond, Virginia company that provides audiovisual and video collaboration solutions.

The merger will create the largest audio-video integrator in the world, with combined revenue of $1.3 billion and more than 3,400 employees, according to AV Magazine.

The newly merged company will retain the AVI-SPL name. John Zettel, who is CEO of AVI-SPL, will  be CEO of the merged company.

“This is an incredibly exciting new chapter for our company, our employees, and our customers,” Zettel said in a news release. “AVI-SPL and Whitlock have always shared a mutual admiration and respect for one another due to our similar passion for innovation and commitment to providing world-class customer experiences. Combining these strengths along with our talented employees, strong global partnerships, and worldwide resources will ensure we continue to deliver the very best experience for our local and global customers undergoing digital transformations.”

AVI-SPL was acquired by H.I.G. Capital, a Miami-based private equity investment firm, in 2016. Whitlock is a portfolio company of global investment firm Marlin Equity Partners, based in Los Angles. In conjunction with the merger, Marlin will become the majority shareholder, with H.I.G. Capital co-investing through a minority equity stake.

The deal is expected to close before the end of March, subject to customary closing conditions, the news release said.

“The digital workplace services industry has an incredible amount of untapped potential,” said Alex Beregovsky, a managing director at Marlin. “The combined company significantly benefits from deeper resources, broader technology expertise and enhanced local presence. We look forward to partnering with the AVI-SPL and Whitlock teams to help them fully reach their potential and ensure customer success around the world.”

The merger is a sign of a growing audio-video market, an industry leader told  Commercial Integrator.

AV is a critical business asset, said David Labuskes, CEO of AVIXA, the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association.

“The services and solutions we provide our customers are becoming more and more strategic and competitive necessities rather than luxuries,” he said, adding “Big AV is still new.  This means there are efficiencies yet to be achieved in business and delivery models currently in place.”

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