Southern California Operation Grows Again In New Year

Martin Romjue
Posted on January 21, 2015
LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. — CLI Worldwide Transportation closed a deal Jan. 2 to buy Beach Harbor Limousine, a longtime affiliate with three vehicles that had served a loyal Orange County customer base for 30 years.

CLI owner and CEO Joe Magnano bought the company from owner Nancy Lindsay, who decided to sell because she wanted to join her husband in retirement. Lindsay is the sister of Grech Motors’ veteran sales executive Kaye Marseilles, who worked previously for many years at the former Krystal Enterprises Inc.

Exact terms of the deal between the close local affiliates were not disclosed, but Magnano estimates the acquisition will take his company from $7.5 million to $8 million in annual revenues this year. CLI is based in Laguna Hills and Beach Harbor Limousine in nearby Laguna Beach, a fine arts-oriented, tony enclave perched along Southern California’s wealthy Gold Coast.

“This deal was a good fit,” Magnano told LCT. “It’s real local to me. Her clients could have been my clients. This worked out really well.”

CLI gained Beach Harbor’s two Lincoln Town Car sedans and a Krystal Lincoln Town Car stretch limousine as part of the deal. Magnano sold the stretch limousine and replaced it with a 2014 Lincoln MKT 120-in. stretch from Executive Coach Builders. His fleet now totals 32 vehicles, including sedans, SUVs, vans, mini-coaches and stretches.

Magnano plans to operate Beach Harbor under its brand and website for about 60 days as Lindsay works with him to fully transition and integrate her former company into CLI’s operations.

“I really want to build the CLI brand,” said Magnano, who founded his company in 1999 and started working as an independent chauffeur in 1994. “It’s tough to run two companies separately. People ask, ‘What are you?’ They want a definitive answer.” Magnano rebranded his company to CLI Worldwide Transportation from California Limousines Inc. in 2009.

The sale of Beach Harbor Limousine will bring its clients more transportation and service options, such as online booking, a wider variety of fleet vehicles, and 24-hour in-house reservation service instead of an after-hours call center, Magnano said.

One interesting point that Magnano made about business growth is that acquiring a local company expands the client base without needing to hire additional sales staff. “An acquisition takes a competitor off the street. It’s almost like hiring another sales person. You have just one initial cost whereas a salesperson’s salary continues year after year. It’s less expensive to purchase a business than to hire a sales person, when you add in pay, benefits, training, taxes, etc. This will be cheaper overall as long as I can keep the clientele and keep them happy.”

With the Beach Harbor acquisition, Magnano has absorbed five local companies since 1999. The last company Magnano bought was Blue Moon International of Costa Mesa in January 2013, which at the time employed Greater California Livery Association President Mark Stewart as operations manager. Stewart, who served as president from 2010 to 2013, now works in a similar role at CLI.

Related Topics: business deals, business growth, California operators, Joe Magnano, mergers & acquisitions

Martin Romjue Editor
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