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Samba Acquires California Firm

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Copyright © 2012 Albuquerque Journal

Samba Safety Inc. in Albuquerque has acquired a California-based competitor, American Driving Records Inc., for an undisclosed price.

Samba, which monitors the driving records of vehicle operators for government and commercial fleets, will significantly expand its customer base through the acquisition, given that ADR is the thirdlargest seller of motor vehicle records in the industry, CEO Richard Crawford said.

“This allows us to upgrade and aggressively pursue cus tomers in many more states,” he said.

ADR has about 7,500 active customers in the U.S. and Canada. It focuses primarily on insurance carriers and agents, “employment resellers” who do background checks on drivers, and, to a lesser extent, fleet management companies.

Samba has 3,000 customers and focuses primarily on public and private fleet managers. It monitors driving records of about 500,000 vehicle operators, alerting management to adverse incidents, such as a DWI or license suspension.

Most Samba customers are in California and New Mexico. The city of Santa Fe, for example, is a long-time Samba client, with about 1,200 employees in the monitoring system.

“We use the service as a matter of due diligence,” said city Safety Specialist Carlos Ramirez.

Samba, which launched in 1998, received $2.8 million in private equity to develop its business, including $1.5 million from Flywheel Ventures and pooled investments from angel investors in New Mexico and Texas.

Last year, Samba was acquired for by a group of private investors that included the New York-based firm Cerca Group LLC and Texasbased Main Street Capital Corp. That acquisition paved the way for the ADR purchase.

“(Samba’s new owners) have been able to recapitalize the company, giving us the wherewithal to pursue and close the ADR transaction,” Crawford said.

Although Samba has not revealed the purchase price for ADR, Main Street Capital reported Sept. 5 it completed a $9.4 million “follow-on” investment in Samba to support the acquisition.

Samba will remain headquartered in Albuquerque. It employs 35 at an 8,000-squarefoot suite at the Rio Grande Technology Center on Montaño NW. ADR, which employs 65, will stay at two offices it runs in California.

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