There’s a lot happening with United Safety & Survivability Corp. It changed its name, expanded its mission and became acquisitive.
Joe Mirabile, the company’s president and CEO, says the company has been rapidly growing and transitioning from what was traditionally a transit business into a safety and survivability business serving multiple markets, channels and technologies. The company is accomplishing that through product additions, strategic partnerships, and acquisitions — three in the past two years, for a start.
“I consider the acquisitions to be real accelerators for us,” Mirabile says. “We've been able to locate both great companies and also great products through these acquisitions. That really helped accelerate the story.”
The company’s acquisition of Firestorm, an Australia-based fire suppression business, along with QTEC Fire Services, a manufacturer of pre-engineered fire suppression systems that’s also based in Australia, both accelerated United Safety’s push into safety and survivability. It also accelerated the company’s global expansion, giving the company a substantial footprint outside of just North America.
Not only were these deals essentially among the first for a company that hadn’t historically been acquisitive, they were also all international deals, which added a layer (or several) of complexity.
“A lot is unique about transacting outside the U.S.,” Mirabile says. “We learned a tremendous amount about cross-border transactions, different laws, different employment laws, different benefits laws, different legal systems — everything that there is to be different in this situations — tax planning, tax structuring; they were all different.”
Cross-border transactions come with a big learning curve, he says, which requires having the right team in place to help navigate what is a very complicated change.
“We picked two countries (it also acquired Child Check-Mate System, which is a company based in Canada) that in many ways are similar,” he says. “So you would expect that the changes weren't as unique as going into certain other areas. But there were still several differences that we needed to understand, make sure we fully reacted to, to really be successful in these transactions.”
Mirabile spoke on the Smart Business Dealmakers Podcast more about how acquisitions are helping the company broaden its mission, what post-deal integration was like during the pandemic, and how the super-heated deal market is affecting the now-acquisitive company. Hit play below to hear the full conversation.