Polk hires investment banker, may consider sale
R.L. Polk & Co., one of the auto industry's most widely quoted sources for data, said today it has retained an investment banker to "explore strategic growth opportunities."
One of those opportunities could include a sale, Polk Vice President Lonnie Miller told a Detroit-area radio station today.
"There is no defined timeline for this process," Polk said in a statement.
Polk -- known for its vehicle registration data, sales forecasts, and tracking of owner loyalty -- could sell for $1 billion, according to estimates published by The Wall Street Journal.
"Polk has been a family-owned business for more than 140 years, and our priority is on continuing this legacy of excellence, maintaining our strong commitment to our employees, customers and partners, and ensuring whatever path we take is in the best interest of our company and its long-term future," the company said.
Miller said in the radio interview that Polk has been performing solidly and that the timing is "really good" to take the next step.
In the early 1920s, General Motors President Alfred P. Sloan asked Ralph Lane Polk II to impartially tabulate and publish automotive statistics, according to Polk's Web site. Polk soon took on the role of an "automotive information and solutions provider" when it published the first Passenger Car Registration Report covering 58 makes and accounting for 9.2 million passenger vehicles, the Web site said.
Stephen Polk, the grandson of Ralph Polk II, has been CEO since 1994.
Polk generated revenue of $359 million in 2011. It employs 425 people at its suburban Detroit headquarters and 1,268 worldwide.
Polk has offices in Long Beach, Calif.; Woodcliff, N.J.; Centreville, Pa.; Canada; England; France; Germany; Spain; Italy; Australia; China; and Japan.
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