The week’s surprise news is that the Certified Collectibles Group (CCG), Numismatic Guarantee Corporation’s (NGC) parent company, sold a majority stake in its company to a private equity firm.
The report notes that the deal with The Blackstone Group was for more than $100 million and places CCG’s valuation at more than $500 million.
In November 2020, a group led by D1 Capital Partners purchased Collectors Universe, the parent company of Professional Coin Grading Service, for $700 million. D1 then took the company private in December.
Private equity firms (PEF) like The Blackstone Group and D1 Captial Partners work to bring together clients use the power of their capital and influence to invest in companies. They take over the companies with the intent of growing them and increasing their profits.
Although private equity firms will infuse the businesses with money, they are not known to do what is best for the industry they enter. They are strictly bottom-line focused. Companies purchased by a PEF have deteriorated because they paid too much for the company and have to pay off that debt and assume the liabilities of the company they purchases.
Another big problem with a PEF is the turnover of staff. The PEF will look to have its people run the businesses in a manner that may not sit well with current employees. When key executives start to leave, it is an indication that the shift in the business culture has begun.The previous week, PCGS announced that President Brett Charville has announced he will be leaving the company. Charville became PCGS president in January 2019, succeeding Don Willis. The press release did not mention Charville’s future, nor was there any announcement from another numismatic-related organization announcing his hiring. Based on the history of executive interactions with private equity firms, it is likely that Charville is the first key executive of Collectors Universe to experience the impact of being purchased by a PFE.
The top two grading services owned by private equity firms question what will happen to the collecting hobbies? Will NGC continue its relationship with the ANA? Will the push for these companies to make more money cause a loosening of grading standards? Or will these firms now have the money to increase the use of technology to enhance the authentication process? Whatever is going to happen, the transition begins this summer and likely will not be felt until the end of the year.
And now the news…