Warburg Pincus to acquire security services firm Universal from Partners Group

Partners Group has agreed to sell its controlling stake in security services company Universal Services of America to Warburg Pincus. No financial terms were disclosed.


Partners Group, the global private markets investment manager, has agreed on behalf of its clients to sell its controlling interest in US security services provider Universal Services of America (Universal) to an affiliate of Warburg Pincus, a global private equity firm focused on growth investing. The transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks.

Universal is a US security services firm which provides a diverse mix of security and facility services, ranging from traditional manned guard services and janitorial services to cutting-edge technology systems. Partners Group invested in Universal on behalf of its clients in 2013, having previously been an investor in the company through its Private Debt business. Over the past two years, Partners Group has worked in close partnership with the Universal management team, led by CEO Steve Jones, to complete over 20 acquisitions and also grow the company organically, resulting in a growth rate five times greater than the industry average. One further significant initiative has focused on establishing appropriate processes and measures to ensure the company is able to preserve its corporate culture and industry-leading employee retention rate in the face of such rapid growth.

During Partners Group’s holding period, the number of Universal employees has increased to over 44’000 from over 27’000, while revenues have climbed by more than 80%. Today, Universal is the fourth largest security services company in the US and is ideally positioned to continue its growth trajectory through further organic growth and add-on acquisitions. Partners Group will remain a minority investor in the company on behalf of its clients following this transaction.

Steve Jones, CEO of Universal Services of America, comments: “Our partnership with Partners Group has created substantial value and accelerated our growth trajectory. Today, we are one of the leaders in the US security services industry, which continues to be a highly fragmented market, and are in a great position to further benefit from the potential for consolidation. We are very much looking forward to the next phase of growth under the stewardship of Warburg Pincus and remain dedicated to providing outstanding service to our clients.”

David Layton, Managing Director and Head of Private Equity Americas at Partners Group, states: “We have greatly enjoyed working with Steve Jones and the rest of the outstanding management team at Universal in the past two years. We are very proud of the growth that we have supported with our investment– not only has the company substantially increased its market share and financial performance in the last two years, but it has also taken the right steps to ensure clients and employees remain engaged and committed as the company grows. We look forward to the next chapter of growth at Universal.”

About Partners Group
Partners Group is a global private markets investment management firm with over EUR 37 billion (over USD 45 billion) in investment programs under management in private equity, private real estate, private infrastructure and private debt. The firm manages a broad range of customized portfolios for an international clientele of institutional investors. Partners Group is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland and has offices in San Francisco, Houston, New York, São Paulo, London, Guernsey, Paris, Luxembourg, Milan, Munich, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo and Sydney. The firm employs over 750 people and is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (symbol: PGHN) with a major ownership by its partners and employees.

About Universal Services of America
Founded in 1965, Universal Services of America combines an innovative mix of cutting edge systems and technology to keep pace with the ever-evolving needs of today’s business environments. Headquartered in Santa Ana, Calif., with offices located nationwide, including the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, Universal employs hands-on, highly experienced management teams and continuous training to deliver consistent, high quality security and janitorial solutions. Universal is made up of four unique divisions: Universal Protection Service, which offers a wide range of security professionals for commercial properties of every type; Universal Building Maintenance, which specializes in green cleaning services for every kind of facility; Universal Protection Security Systems, which provides full-service security systems; and Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which offers all aspects of emergency preparation.