I hear from Europe that German Based Apcoa Parking AG has been purchased by the French buyout firm Eurazeo SA for just over a billion dollars. The company had been owned by Bahrain-based buyout firm Investcorp. Investcorp bought Apcoa just two years ago for a paltry $300,000,000.
Plus the Australian Maquerie Bank is in talks to buy NCP (British National Car Parks) for nearly 1.6 billion dollars. The London based firm has been turned over three times in the past five years.
Private equity firms and investment banks seem to see parking operations, at least in Europe, as commodities. Companies to be purchased, held, and sold. I have a number of sources concerning the Central sale, and they tell me two opposite stories. Kohlberg et al will grow the company and return it to its core business or they will break it up and sell it. I vote for "grow" but the two huge European firm’s experience has been quite different. They haven’t been broken up, but they have been "held and sold."
My European contacts muse on the price paid. The price for the outstanding shares of Central was about $750 million. The price for Apcoa in Europe and NCP in the UK were in the billion dollar plus range. Did Central leave a lot on the table? Were the other companies overpriced? My contact is concerned that if NCP goes for such a high number it could result in problems for the parking world in the UK. Will Maquerie inject new life into stodgie NCP? Interesting times ahead.