Safeguard Scientifics was originally founded as the Lancaster Corporation in September 1953, by Warren V. “Pete” Musser and Frank A. Diamond, as a holding company to invest in small firms, particularly in the electronics, atomic energy, chemical, metal and petroleum industries.
Lancaster Corporation deployed capital in Safe-Guard Check Writer Corporation, a company that produced a machine that imprinted checks with the dollar amount by perforating the paper.
Lancaster Corporation deployed capital in a fledgling electronics company called Jerrold Electronics Corporation of Philadelphia—the world’s largest manufacturer of community antenna equipment at that time—which later became Comcast.
Lancaster Corporation’s wholly-owned subsidiary—Safeguard Automotive Corporation—was formed to become a supplier of parts to the vast automotive replacement parts market.
Lancaster Corporation changed its name to Safeguard Industries.
Safeguard Industries went public.
Safeguard Industries began trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol SFE. Today, SFE is the 244th oldest company listed on the NYSE; the 20th oldest Pennsylvania-based company; and the 8th oldest that is based in the Greater Philadelphia area.
Safeguard Industries made the strategic decision to emphasize and enlarge its efforts in business services and automotive parts, which were identified at the time to have large growth and profit potential.
Safeguard Industries completed the acquisition of all publicly held shares of Safeguard Automotive Corporation, which became a wholly-owned subsidiary.
As the “Information Age” began, Safeguard Industries made a decision to refocus its strategy and resources in the area of computerized and manual information procession.
Safeguard completely withdrew itself from the remanufactured parts due to a weakening aftermarket, which resulted from significant fluctuations in the price and availability of gasoline, high interest rates, and the then automobile downsizing trend.
Safeguard Industries changed its name to Safeguard Scientifics, Inc.
Novell Data Systems became a Safeguard Scientifics partner company.
CompuCom Systems became a Safeguard Scientifics partner company.
Safeguard Scientifics became the first company of its kind to leverage the benefits of a public structure to support emerging growth companies through subscription rights offerings. The first partner company to benefit from this structure was Novell when it went public in February 1985.
Safeguard Scientifics made history as a founding shareholder in QVC.
Safeguard Scientifics Founder Pete Musser co-founded the Eastern Technology Council with the late Dr. Hubert J.P. Schoemaker, Co-Founder of Centocor.
USA Today recognized Safeguard Scientifics partner company Cambridge Technology Partners’ rights offering as “the most successful IPO for a technology company in 1993.”
Leveraging the new age of the World Wide Web, Safeguard Scientifics launched its first corporate website.
Safeguard Scientifics took ICG Group, Inc. (formerly known as Internet Capital Group) public on the NASDAQ, under the ticker symbol ICGE, representing one of the greatest wealth creation events in public market history.
Safeguard Scientifics’ majority-owned subsidiary, CompuCom Systems, was acquired by Platinum Equity. The transaction generated $128 million in gross cash proceeds, further strengthening Safeguard’s balance sheet in the wake of the Internet-bubble.
Peter J. Boni joined Safeguard as President and CEO, bringing more than 25 years of experience as the CEO of technology companies in all stages of growth, and as an operating partner with a large global private equity firm.
Safeguard Scientifics partner company Mantas was acquired by i-flex® Solutions, a subsidiary of Oracle Corporation, for $112.8 million—resulting in a gain of approximately $83 million for Safeguard.
Safeguard Scientifics sold stake in five legacy partner companies for $106 million, aligning Safeguard’s portfolio of companies with core strategic focus on life sciences and technology.
Safeguard Scientifics partner company Clarient was acquired by GE Healthcare for $587 million—representing the largest cash return in Safeguard’s history.
Safeguard Scientifics partner company Avid Radiopharmaceuticals was acquired by Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) for $300 million upfront, plus an additional $500 million payable upon the achievement of future regulatory and commercial milestones.
On the eve of pricing an IPO, Safeguard Scientifics partner company Advanced BioHealing was acquired by Shire plc (LSE: SHP, NASDAQ: SHPGY) for $750 million, in cash, representing a 25% premium to the mid-point of the IPO pricing range and a 13x cash-on-cash return for Safeguard.
Safeguard Scientifics partner company Portico Systems was acquired by McKesson (NYSE:MCK) for $90 million, in cash, representing a 4x cash-on-cash return for Safeguard.
Safeguard commemorated 40 years of trading on the New York Stock Exchange by ringing the Closing Bell.
On November 1, 2012, Stephen T. Zarrilli became President and Chief Executive Officer of Safeguard, having previously served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since 2008.