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BIG AND GETTING BIGGER

NAT TURNER
Executive Chairman, CEO
Collectors Holding
Santa Ana

Rapidly expanding firm, previously known as Collectors Universe, provides authentication and grading services to dealers and collectors of coins, trading cards, event tickets, autographs and historical and sports memorabilia. Benefitting as industry for trading cards and other collectibles has continued to grow over the course of the pandemic, with no signs of a slowdown. It’s the owner of PSA, which authenticates trading cards and memorabilia; PCGS, which grades coins and currency; and WATA, which values video games and other pop culture items.

THEN: Company went public in 1999 and spent the next decade with a market cap around $30 million. In recent years, the company’s value slowly crept up until late 2020, when Turner’s investment group offered $700 million, or a 30% premium to its value at the time. By last February, it bumped the offer to $853 million to complete the deal.

NOW: The company has grown from $105 million in sales in calendar 2020 to more than $300 million last year, officials tell the Business Journal. In Collectors’ three prior fiscal years, sales hovered around $40 million. Firm said its own valuation has risen fivefold to $4.3 billion after it raised $100 million in new funding.

FUTURE: In recent months, it’s made five acquisitions, including an online collectibles marketplace called Goldin, described as a high-end online auction house that does for cards what Sotheby’s does for art. The $100 million will be used to for more acquisitions, officials say.

IN THEIR WORDS: Collectors has grown from 600 employees at the end of 2020 to about 1,100 as of March, with 1,000 in Orange County. It plans to expand to 2,000 employees by the end of the year, ranging from entry-level positions to software engineers. “Our biggest challenge is hiring. We’re struggling to find talented people,” Turner said.

DARYL CARTER
Founder, Chairman, CEO
Avanath Capital Management
Irvine

Longtime head of firm that acquires, renovates, and operates apartment properties, with an emphasis on affordable and workforce communities. Since its formation in 2008, Avanath has acquired $2.5 billion of properties in 13 states in the U.S., totaling 10,000 apartment units.

THEN: Avanath previously opened four investment funds; all of them have had a 10-year shelf life, which has limited the possibility of long-term holds for Avanath, officials said.

NOW: Prepping for a new wave of affordable housing investments—and, for the first time, apartment development—after closing its first open-ended fund totaling $536 million. The fund is a consolidation of the firm’s first two funds and will serve as the company’s sole investment vehicle for new affordable and workforce housing acquisitions moving forward. The fund was launched with investor UBS and adviser Accord Capital Partners.

The fund’s seed portfolio includes 27 apartment communities including 4,256 units with a value of $830 million. Those assets were part of the first two closed funds.

FUTURE: “In addition to accelerating the firm’s growth and expanding our acquisition capacity, the fund’s infinite lifespan enables us to invest on an ongoing basis in affordable housing that serves residents and communities in need throughout the country,” Carter said in April.

IN THEIR WORDS: Says company’s mission is to provide “budget-friendly homes and impactful social programs for those most in need throughout the country.”

STEVE JONES
Global Chairman, CEO
Allied Universal
Santa Ana

Runs the world’s largest private security firm, which has grown through dozens of acquisitions both in the U.S. and abroad. Last year completed the $5.1 billion acquisition of London-based G4S PLC to create the world’s seventh-largest private employer.

THEN: Joined company in 1996 when it counted $12 million in annual sales.

NOW: Annual revenue now tops $20 billion, Jones told the Business Journal in March. That’s up from $18 billion figure cited at the time of the G4S buy. Worldwide employee count now tops 800,000; was around 250,000 prior to the G4S acquisition.

FUTURE: “The plan is to grow to $25 billion in annual sales by 2026,” Jones said last year. “We’re not slowing down.” Recent acquisitions include Star Protection Agency, the largest locally owned security firm in Hawaii, and American Security, a top security provider in the Southeast region of the U.S.

BRIAN NICCOL
Chairman, CEO
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Newport Beach

Heads OC’s No. 2 restaurant chain, with over $7.5 billion in systemwide sales last year, and over 3,000 locations.

A longtime marketer who learned the retail business at Proctor & Gamble Co., and the restaurant business at Taco Bell.

THEN: Joined Chipotle in 2018, after the burrito chain’s sales and stock price had taken a hit after a series of food-safety scares. Immediately moved headquarters from Denver to OC.

NOW: Stocks up nearly fivefold since his hiring; has overseen one of industry’s largest turnarounds in recent years. Chipotle now OC’s second-most valuable company with market cap near $40 billion.

FUTURE: Aims to build restaurant count to 7,000. Launching a new $50 million venture fund, Cultivate Next, which will provide early stage investments to companies that align with Chipotle’s mission, it says. Funds will support Series B stage companies that can help accelerate Chipotle’s strategic priorities, which include improving operations, increasing the use of technology, advancing its Food With Integrity mission and increasing convenience for consumers, it says.

IN THEIR WORDS: Said during recent earnings call that “you will likely see us increasing technology enablement for our restaurants and support centers to amplify innovation, enhance the customer experience and optimize efficiencies to improve operational execution.”

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