ADT Shares Tumble on First Day of Trading

The IPO priced below the original target range as the home security firm went public only two years after being taken private.
Matthew HellerJanuary 19, 2018

Home security company ADT had a shaky market debut on Friday as its shares fell more than 11% below the initial offering price.

The decline was another setback for ADT, which already had to price the IPO at $14 a share — below the original target range of $17 to $19 — after it sold fewer shares than planned.

At $14 a share, the company would have raised between $1.4 billion to $1.69 billion from the IPO. The stock closed at $12.39 on Friday, down 11.5% and equating to a market capitalization of about $9.3 billion.

ADT was taken private for $6.9 billion in 2016 by private equity firm Apollo Global Management, which continues to own the majority of the shares. With some 15 million alarms sold annually, it is the largest home monitored security company in North America.

But as The Financial Times reports, “While the US home security market is estimated to be a $55 billion a year industry, the sector is undergoing a period of upheaval as smart home technology companies such as Nest introduce cheaper alternatives to ADT’s subscription-based home monitoring services.”

“We sell our products and services in highly competitive markets,” ADT said in its prospectus, adding, “We also face potential competition from DIY products, which enable customers to self-monitor and control their environments without third-party involvement through the internet, text messages, emails, or similar communications.”

Apollo engineered a rapid transformation of ADT’s finances. “We hit most of the five-year targets inside of two years,” CEO Timothy Whall told CNBC. “Much better customer satisfaction resulted in greatly improved cash flows to the business.”

But the company’s debt load has soared from about $1.3 billion at the end of 2015 to nearly $10.2 billion as of last Sept. 30, with much of that debt going back to Apollo’s buyout.

After the acquisition, Apollo merged ADT with Protection One, a home security business that it already owned. Even at ADT’s reduced trading price, the PE firm earned a 2.3x return on its initial investment, representing a profit of $2.4 billion.