On The Block

Costume jewelry and fashion accessory retailer Claire’s Stores Inc. says it is considering a sale of its business, which could see the NYSE-traded company go private. Goldman, Sachs & Co. has been tapped to serve as the Pembroke Pines, Fla.-based company’s financial advisor. Claire’s, whose target demographic is females in their young teens through young adulthood, operates under two store concepts: Claire’s and Icing by Claire’s. As of Nov. 25, 2006, Claire’s had about 3,000 locations in areas including North America, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the U.K. and Western Europe. It also has locations in Japan and licenses stores in the Middle East, Turkey and South Africa. Claire’s sales for fiscal 2006, which ended Jan. 28, 2006, reached about $1.37 billion, a 7% increase from fiscal 2005, the company says.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have been hired to help The ServiceMaster Co. explore strategic alternatives. The ServiceMaster, headquartered in Downers Grove, Ill., provides services in three areas. Its TruGreen LandCare segment provides commercial landscaping services; its Terminix segment provides termite and pest control services; and its American Home Shield segment provides warranty contracts on home systems and appliances, as well as home inspection services. Other services provided by ServiceMaster include disaster response and reconstruction; house cleaning; and furniture repair. In the three months ended Sept. 30 2006, ServiceMaster generated $971 million in revenues, up from the $925 million it took in for the same period in 2005. Sidley Austin LLP is serving as legal advisor to SerivceMaster.

Media giant The Tribune Co. has extended its auction of various assets into the New Year. In a prepared statement, the company president, chairman and CEO said that the “process has generated strong interest from a number of parties. Advisors to both the [Tribune co.] and the independent special committee of the board have recommended that the review process be extended to ensure thorough consideration of all proposals.” It is expected that the process will come to fruition sometime in the first quarter. Tribune Co. says that it reaches more than 80% of U.S. households through its newspapers, television stations and Web sites. The company is best known for its print assets, which include daily newspapers Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Newsday and The (Baltimore) Sun. Operating revenues in the Tribune Co.’s third quarter of 2006 came in at $1.35 billion, with operating cash flow at $293 million. Tribune Co. is considering selling the company either as a whole or in parts.

Nashville, Tenn.-headquartered Central Parking Corp., a provider of parking and transportation-related services, is considering a sale, and has hired The Blackstone Group LP as its financial advisor. As of Sept. 30, the NYSE-traded company operated about 3,100 parking facilities with an aggregate of approximately 1.5 million spaces. Facilities operated by Central Parking include those at New York’s Rockefeller Center and Yankee Stadium, BAA Heathrow International Airport in London, and Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. The company is active domestically in 37 states and the District of Columbia, and internationally in Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Chile, Colombia, Spain and Greece.