Acuity Brands Lighting, Inc. has entered into an agreement (subject to regulatory approval) to acquire 100% of the outstanding capital stock of Sensor Switch, Inc., the $37 million controls manufacturer, for $205 million. Sensor Switch, based in Wallingford, CT, offers energy-saving control solutions such including occupancy sensors, photocontrols and distributed lighting control devices.

The successful agreement. concept

“The acquisition of Sensor Switch is part of our profitable growth strategy aimed at offering the most technologically advanced sustainable lighting solutions incorporating both controls and fixtures to maximize energy savings while delivering exceptional quality lighting for commercial, institutional, industrial and residential applications,” says Vernon J. Nagel, Chairman, President and CEO of Acuity Brands. “We believe this acquisition will broaden our participation in both the new construction and building systems markets while greatly expanding our presence in the very large and dynamic renovation and relight market. We are acquiring a fast growing company, with a great team. The addition of Sensor Switch along with our recent acquisition of Lighting Control and Design allows us to expand our capabilities in offering a full array of intelligent lighting products and lighting control solutions in a time when energy management control is critical.”

LightNOW’s take: Acuity Brands Lighting, which already operates Synergy® Lighting Controls and recently purchased Lighting Control & Design™, is investing in expanding its presence in energy management and lighting controls. This kind of acquisition makes sense even in today’s climate for two reasons. First, the energy management side of the lighting industry is expected by some to grow as businesses switch resource allocation for new construction to upgrading existing buildings (assuming credit conditions ease), and lighting upgrades to reduce operating costs through efficiency are expected to be a popular form of renovation. Meanwhile, there is a nascent, but potentially significant, trend of integrating controls with luminaires, as evidenced by solutions such as Finelite’s ICLS, Peerless integrated control solutions including SIMPLY5, and Zumtobel Lighting’s ZX5 with Lutron’s EcoSystem. This looks like it could be big, and so some companies may be seeing it’s a good time to buy a controls company (or partner with one such as Lutron or Watt Stopper to get a “Lutron inside” or “Watt Stopper inside” marketing effect) just as many of them recently went through a spate of buying LED companies.