Carriage Services Issues Statement: Reviewing “Strategic Alternatives”

Funeral Industry News Mergers & Acquisitions June 29, 2023
Park Lawn and Carriage Logos

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Carriage Services Issues Statement: Reviewing “Strategic Alternatives”

Less than 12 hours after Connecting Directors broke the news of Park Lawn Corporation’s proposal to acquire Carriage Services, Inc., Carriage released a statement that its board of directors is reviewing “strategic alternatives.”

A release posted to the Carriage Services website at 7 a.m. EDT on June 29, 2023 says the board “has initiated a process to explore potential strategic alternatives, possibly including a sale, merger or other potential strategic or financial transaction, to maximize shareholder value.”

The short statement concludes with a disclaimer that there is no assurance a transaction will occur nor any time frame for any transactions, and the company will issue no comment “unless there are material developments to report.”

On June 28, Connecting Directors shared breaking news that Park Lawn had proposed acquiring “all outstanding shares of capital stock” of Carriage Services, Inc. 

In a June 13, 2023 letter obtained by Connecting Directors, Park Lawn Chief Executive Officer J. Bradley Green writes that his company’s proposal “represents the best path forward for Carriage and carries strategic merits which are unmatched by any other alternative available to the Company.”

Terms of the proposal include the acquisition of “all of the outstanding equity of Carriage for $34.00 per share in cash, representing a 25% premium” to the weighted average share price as of June 12. Preferred timing, due diligence requirements, and necessary approvals are also detailed in the Park Lawn letter.

Park Lawn’s most recent press release, announcing its acquisition of “substantially all the assets of Cobb Funeral Chapel and Cobb Suncrest Memorial Gardens” in Moultrie, Georgia, states that as of the release date of June 26, 2023, the Toronto-based company and its subsidiaries “own and operate businesses including cemeteries, crematoria, funeral homes, chapels, planning offices and a transfer service” in three Canadian provinces and nineteen U.S. states.” Park Lawn’s U.S. headquarters is located in Houston.

According to Carriage Services’ website, the company, “a leading provider of funeral and cemetery services and merchandise in the United States,” operates 173 funeral homes in 26 states and 32 cemeteries in 11 states. The company was founded in 1991 by Mel Payne, who reportedly suffered a stroke in February while recovering from knee surgery; he was expected to make a full recovery after rehabilitation.

On June 22, 2023, Carriage Services announced that Payne had stepped down as Chief Executive Officer, but was assuming the role of Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors. Carlos R. Quezada was named CEO, and Steven D. Metzger was appointed as President.