For sale: Single-owner car records company. 140 years on the clock, excellent condition, well-cared-for, has never seen rain. If you have $1 billion or so, you can park Carfax in your driveway.
Actually, it's not just Carfax that is reportedly for sale but all of R.L. Polk & Co., the family-owned company that provides all kinds of data, research, forecasting and consulting services to the automobile industry.
Polk is best known to consumers for Carfax, which provides car histories for a fee, using the data it collects from all 50 states.
Although consumers frequently complain about alleged omissions or additions in Carfax reports, it wasn't long ago that car histories were available only to dealers.
Potential buyers are likely to include companies such as J.D. Power & Associates, CarsDirect.com and other research and data services.
Polk was founded in 1870 when it began publishing city directories, including the so-called "reverse" directories -- they listed residents by address instead of by name -- beloved of reporters, private detectives and insurance salesmen.