Regus Buys Texas: Ten Gallon Deal in the Works

Regus

Editor’s Update April 8, 2015: It’s official. The sale of Abby to Regus has gone through, giving the serviced office space giant 40 centers in Houston, alone. OT reported on the advance news of the deal a couple of weeks ago. Our original article is below, which includes local insight and details.

Insider information says that Regus has agreed to buy long time industry leader Abby Executive Suites; their remaining competitive blockade in the Houston market.  The sale is slated to close on April 1st. No irony intended —- at least we don’t think so. Most operators would agree that Abby has been a heavy hitter in Houston with 23 locations spread throughout major metropolitan areas of Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and even into New Orleans.

While the deal is not yet officially inked, it speaks to the growing list of strong independent operators, which are getting snapped up by Regus, and leaving the rest to ponder their own fates.

Or are they? OT recently covered one of ABCN’s newest members, Executive Suite Professionals in Jacksonville, run by Lisa Gufford who has been approached in the past by Regus and has no plans of being anything other than a proud independent. “Regus competes with us,” she is quick to state, rather than the other way around.

Independent operators in the area, such as Jan Paape, owner of Houston-based Anchor Executive Center suites, are sorrier to see Abby go than they are concerned about Regus’ influence. Jan took a moment to weigh in on the impending move. “Regus has once again expanded their presence in a market – this time it is Houston. I shall miss what will be the very conspicuous absence of Abby Executive Suites.” She went on to say, “We have been competitors in the Houston market for over 25 years. It has been a wonderful experience, much more than a competition.  As independents, we shared the ups and downs, learning through our own and each other’s experiences. We made each other stronger.”

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What do you think about Regus’ latest move? Is this potentially good news? Many operators feel that Regus makes them stronger, rather than more vulnerable. After all, despite its power and influence, Regus is not without flaws — and detractors. As a prime example, many independents are proud of their ‘one price’ policies, using them as a competitive strategy against Regus’ practice of a low entry price with multiple (and sometimes hidden) costs tacked on over time.

Jan Paape, for one, doesn’t waste time hinging her success on the movements of Regus. “Regus growth in the Houston market has nothing to do with the success of my company. That is up to me!”

It seems the independents are standing tall; Texas style. Yet the Regus steamroller continues to cover ground. Today it’s Texas. Who’s next?

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