Greenwich, Conn. History: United Rentals was founded in September 1997 by Brad Jacobs and a team of executives who played principal roles with United Waste Systems, which Jacobs founded in 1989. After growing to become the industry's sixth-largest company, United was acquired by USA Waste in 1997. The United Waste management team then invested a significant portion of its earnings - $45 million - to found United Rentals. With an additional $10 million in equity from investors and a $55 million credit facility, United Rentals made its first six acquisitions in October 1997.
United went public in December 1997, raising about $100 million, and then raised another $200 million through a second offering in March. United has raised additional capital through bond offerings and credit facilities.
United Rentals has now acquired 59 rental companies, with 210 locations in 28 states and Canada, and is on an annual revenue run rate of about $650 million. Also, United has 19 companies under letters of intent with aggregate revenues of $206 million.
United Rentals signed a historic agreement to acquire the stock of U.S. Rentals in June. With the acquisition of U.S. Rentals, United will have an annual revenue run rate of about $1.5 billion and more about 400 locations in 41 states, with branches in Canada and Mexico. The transaction is expected to be finalized next month.
Leading acquisitions: With the purchase of U.S. Rentals, United will have acquired 60 companies with more than 400 locations. The larger firms include Equipment Supply Co., Burlington, N.J.; Access Rentals, Batavia, N.Y.; BNR Equipment, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada; Power Rents, Tigard, Ore.; Able Equipment, Buena Park, Calif.; ADCO, City of Industry, Calif.; Perco Ltd., Montreal; Reitzel Rentals, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada; Mercer Equipment Rentals, Charlotte, N.C.; A-1 Rents, Salinas, Calif.; Industrial Lift, Vincentown, N.J.; High Reach Inc., Portland, Ore.; and Gaedcke Equipment, Houston.
Key executives: Brad Jacobs, chairman and chief executive officer; Wayland Hicks, vice chairman, president and chief operating officer; John Milne, vice chairman and chief acquisitions officer; Michael Nolan, chief financial officer; Robert Miner, vice president, strategic planning.
Following the merger with U.S. Rentals, its chairman, Richard Colburn, will join the United board as chairman emeritus. Bill Berry, president and CEO of U.S. Rentals, will become president of the combined company with responsibility for day-to-day operations, reporting to Hicks. U.S. Rentals chief financial officer John McKinney will serve as vice president, finance.