Like the Swallows returning to Capistrano, Central periodically hires a financial adviser to develop "alternative strategies" for moving forward. In November they hired the Blackstone group to handle this year’s pass. The goal, most likely — prepare the company for sale.
That possible sale, PT has been told, is well under way, and may reach fruition in the next few days. Insiders in Nashville reveal that a number of Investment banks have made proposals. Standard parking has signed a non disclosure agreement with Central, and The Gates Group, owner of Impark, is also working the room.
Central has gone down this path in the past, only to find that the deal wasn’t right. The world’s largest parking operator owns a lot of property, has thousands of management contracts, and is the largest player in Manhattan. But its profits from operations has been flat, stock erratic, and its mammoth size shrinking. Will this be the time that Central’s board decides enough is enough and will take one of the offers?
What will this company look like if it is purchased by a non parking entity? Will the headquarters be moved, perhaps to the Big Apple from where the majority of its profits, if any, come? Who will be tapped to run the company? Will it be divided up and sold off, with the management contracts be divvied up to the operators that are strongest in a particular market? Will the real assets be sold to help the buyer pay for the deal?
I’m sure these are questions that are being asked not only by its employees, but also by its more than 3,000 customers.
It will be an interesting couple of weeks in the parking business.