Editors Blog

Taking Care of Business: Are We About to Revive Consolidation?

July 28, 2008
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I know a lot of you are thinking that consolidation has been a dead issue for several years, with only the occasional acquisition of an HVAC contractor making news. The latest acquisition was of Goettl Air Conditioning in Tempe, Ariz., by American Residential Services LLC (ARS). The deal was pretty significant if you consider that Goettl has been in business since 1939 and, according to the company, was the first HVAC contractor to introduce air conditioning to the Phoenix area.

This isn’t any small mom-and-pop that ARS acquired. I’ve heard the Goettl name mentioned over the years as one of the most respected HVAC contractors in the country. My hat is off to ARS for landing such a prize.

Now the next question is: Who will follow up with the next big acquisition news? Will we still see a lot of onesies or will the next news be of multiple acquisitions or perhaps the purchase of a large company with several satellite offices? I am feeling the rumblings.

Comfort Systems USA has made some nice acquisitions of commercial contractors over the last few years, albeit very few deals. Service Experts has been standing pat under the Lennox moniker and may remain so, but there are no guarantees in life.

And there are a few new, smaller companies that are making smaller waves in the acquisitions market, too.

This may give hope to owners looking for an exit strategy, although the high selling prices are likely a thing of the past - unless the HVAC contractor for sale is sitting on top of an untapped reserve of black gold.

Stay tuned. This could get interesting.
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