Three of the largest crane rental companies in North America - Maxim Crane Works, Essex Crane Rental, and Marino Crane Rental - have made it known that they are either for sale, open to a merger, seeking investors or “exploring options.”

Last month, Maxim Crane Works Holdings publicly announced it had retained Goldman, Sachs & Co. to act as financial advisor while “exploring strategic business alternatives that will enable Maxim to continue to grow its business.”

Maxim would not comment on the specifics of the announcement, but said in a statement that “alternatives under consideration would include a merger, sale of the business, or other potential transactions.” While in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2004, Maxim was the subject of a $325 million bid from AmQuip.

ACT spoke to Joseph Vaccarello, Maxim's chief financial officer, who would not speculate on the reasons for the company's actions, whether it was motivated by general market conditions or reasons specific to the company.

Carl Marino also would not go on the record for our article, but did acknowledge his firm had made formal arrangements to solicit investment.

Ron Schad, CEO of Essex, said he would talk about Essex Crane Rental's decision to sell the company at a later date.

Some in the industry, who were quick to speculate but did not want to be quoted, said there are a variety of market conditions that contribute to a company with a large inventory of cranes putting themselves up for sale. One source said that because used cranes prices are sky high, with some used models selling for more than they did when they were new, that the assets of these companies are worth more than ever. Another leading speculation is that a couple of the companies are ready for “profit taking,” given the health of the market right now. Others have speculated that financial problems may be the problem, even though the crane rental market is as vibrant as ever.

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