Tampa Bay Limo Companies Merge To Boost Multiple Brands

Posted on November 26, 2013

TAMPA, Fla. — Ambassador Limousine and Advantage Limousine, the companies who serve the New York Yankees and the Seminole Hard Rock Casino respectively, are merging to create the Ambassador Group of North America, they announced Tuesday.

In combining the companies, Ambassador CEO Kenneth J. Lucci and Advantage President and CEO Hani Banoub have created multiple tiers of chauffeured limousines, sedans and motorcoaches on the West Coast of Florida. The deal formally closed on Nov. 22.

The merger deal creates a comprehensive 70-vehicle operation, the largest chauffeured fleet in the Tampa Bay region, with estimated combined annual revenues of at least $6.8 million, Lucci told LCT on Tuesday. Ambassador brands have annual revenues of about $5 million, and Advantage has about $1.8 million. The combined operations have 30 employees and 90 independent contractors.

Lucci outlined the brand structure under Ambassador Group of North America, a newly formed corporate parent entity, as follows:

  • Ambassador Limousine: Traditional, luxury corporate chauffeured services
  • Ambassador Executive Coach: Motorcoach/charter bus services
  • FlexSedans: A membership-based service for consumers that provides chauffeur-driven sedans at about the cost (or under) of a cab. The value-driven Ford Flex crossover service is based on pre-paid client memberships only. A typical rate is $45 for 45 minutes. Lucci started the service in April 2012.
  • Advantage Limousine: Leisure, retail, nights out limousine and limo bus services
  • We Care Medical Transportation: Patient transport and medical courier services with Ford Flex crossovers arranged exclusively through medical provider clients that include doctors offices, health care practices, home health care agencies, rehabilitation services, and seniors communities. Banoub launched this division in 2011.

The Ambassador service groups reflect a growing trend in the chauffeured transportation industry of creating multiple transportation tiers that cater to clients who want to hire vehicles and services that fall in between a highest-end limousine and a low-end taxicab.

“Hani and I have been talking about merging for a few months, and in our conversations, we realized just how well our companies complement each other,” Lucci said in a statement. “Advantage has a sedan service for healthcare called WeCare, and we have a sedan service for consumers and businesses called FlexSedans. We both have modern fleets, and while Advantage has a strong base of business in luxury limos, Ambassador does well serving groups with state-of-the-art motorcoaches. We have corporate clients, such as Tech Data and Franklin Templeton, and they are the official limousine for a number of high profile destinations, like The Florida Aquarium, Blue Martini and Jackson’s Bistro. This deal just makes sense.”

Lucci told LCT he had been talking with Banoub since September about the merger, which allows both executives to remain as co-owners under undisclosed financial terms. "This is a real yin and yang type of merger," he said. "[Hani] found it really difficult to keep quality chauffeurs during the week. We did a ton of corporate and group business, with chauffeurs working a lot during the week. This now allows us to attract a better caliber of chauffeurs, ones committed to the company and not just one side of the business or the other."

Lucci will focus on the two Ford Flex-based brands and Ambassador Executive Coach; Banoub will run the Advantage brand; and a third executive will run daily Ambassador/corporate operations. The set-up also allows Lucci to pursue long-range marketing and growth strategies.

Lucci predicts the strongest growth will come in the Ford Flex-based divisions. The company now has 12 Flex vehicles; it plans to grow the fleet to 50 by this time next year across both divisions, Lucci said. FlexSedans has 400 paying members as of today.

Both companies maintain very high standards for operational efficiency and safety, with a reputation for reliability and white glove service, Banoub said in a statement. “Advantage and Ambassador have built stellar brand reputations based on consistency of performance and client referrals over many years. We know our customers demand the cleanest vehicles, the most punctual arrivals and the best professional chauffeurs. In just about every way possible, our companies are a perfect match to succeed together.”

The company has fully staffed offices in Tampa and Clearwater. It will maintain the Ambassador Advantage brands and websites until eventually co-branding under the Ambassador Limousine Service (ALS) logo, Lucci said.

Related LCT article: Florida Operator Promotes Safety Aspects of Five-Door Limo

Related LCT article: Tampa Operator Hiring Chauffeurs For RNC Event

Sources: Martin Romjue, LCT editor; Ambassador/Advantage via Ignition Branding

Related Topics: Ambassador Limousine, business deals, Florida operators, Ford Flex, medical transportation, mergers & acquisitions, tiered services

Comments ( 1 )
  • Calgary Luxury Limousine

     | about 7 years ago

    When you choose a luxury limousine service, you need to have correct information on the professional credentials of the chauffeur you will be provided with. Limos are always accompanied by their chauffeurs who are expected to provide almost every kind of assistance to the traveler.

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