Savant was looking for an OEM manufacturing partner to build Savant-branded lighting control keypads when the company realized it made more financial sense to buy a brand outright, rather than licensing its technology. That’s how Savant ended up acquiring LiteTouch from Nortek, according to Savant executive vice president Jim Carroll.
“We tried to OEM keypads around the industry, and the math just didn’t work,” Carroll told me shortly after news of his company’s acquisition was made public.
The amazing part of the deal, to me at least, was that it involved an independently owned company like Savant buying a Nortek brand, rather than the other way around.
“The discussion really started just trying to get them to OEM their keypads to us and ‘something happened along the way,’ as they say,” Carroll explained somewhat cryptically.
Nortek had acquired LiteTouch back in 2007.
Carroll thinks the acquisition will be exciting for Savant’s dealers because it “fills an immediate gap with keypads,” and adds a brand with 30 years in the business, has a good team of people in Salt Lake City, and provides a different channel than Savant has seen in the past.
“They’ve got this whole electrical channel that we just haven’t touched, with specifiers and designers,” Carroll noted. “It also gives us another path into some of these deals and very complementary reps.”
Carroll said that Savant was immediately impressed with the technical aptitude of the LiteTouch team as well as the aesthetics and functionality of its keypads. “What we’ll be able to gain in our market is just tremendous, and the ability to have our own lighting control system is very powerful.” he stated.
And Carroll was quick to emphasize that Savant would continue to support all of its lighting control partners. “We want to maintain all of those relationships,” he said. “As we’ve expanded globally, we’ve worked very closely with those lighting control companies out there, both domestically and international, so we want to continue to foster those, but we felt very strongly that we needed a Savant-branded keypad that’s customer facing. I think there’s room for everybody. We bring to the table a unique product offering for all of the lighting companies that’s compelling. So if one of our lighting partners is in control of the deal and we get spec’d in that’s great. There’s going to be situations were it goes both ways. Nobody’s got 100-percent market share of anything. I think it’s good for our industry, good for us, good for our partners.”