Private Equity’s Latest Fix: Auto-Body Repair
A lot of newspaper headlines (titles of articles) are based on a “double meaning” of one of the words, where one word has two different meanings. Here the key word is fix.
The verb to fix means to repair, to take something that is broken (such as part of a car) and make it so that it works again, or looks the same as it did before.
But “fix” can also be a noun to describe something that you are addicted to, usually an illegal drug like cocaine or heroin. (To be addicted means you feel you MUST have something, even if it is causing you harm or injury.)
This headline is using both meanings of “fix.”
Let’s go back to the beginning of the headline: private is used here to refer to what does not belong to the government. (Things run by or owned by the government are called public.) Equity refers to money that people want to invest in something. (Remember to invest means to give money to someone in the hopes of getting even more money back.)
So private equity refers to people and companies whose main job is to invest money. This headline is telling us about one of the latest or most recent interests of these investment companies.
In the original article (paid subscription required), we read about equity firms (companies) buying auto-body repair places. An auto is a car (from “automobile”). The body of an auto is the outside of it (not including the engine or the wheels, for example).
If someone hits you with his car, you need to get your car’s body repaired or fixed. Private equity companies are buying these repair “shops.” In fact, they are buying lots of them, almost as if they were addicted, as if they needed their “fix” of them. That’s the double meaning of “fix” in this headline.
The word shop doesn’t appear in the headline, but usually we refer to businesses that do auto body repair as repair shops. A shop can be a place you buy something, but another meaning of “shop” is a place where you get something fixed. We even sometimes say, “My car is in the shop” when we mean our car is being fixed by a mechanic at an auto repair shop.
So, to summarize: Some investment managers are interested in buying lots of small auto-body repair shops and combining them to form a large company with the hopes of making more money.
I just hope no one hits my car so I don’t have to use one.