Time sharing, circa 2006…

gulf.jpegBack when I was a cub reporter on the west coast of Florida, you couldn’t go a block without seeing a sign for some time-share — usually some old motel that had been haphazardly fixed up. This was the late 1980s, before more than half of the small (and not so small, like the infamous Goldome) banks that I used to cover imploded making many questionable real estate loans. Real estate time shares made a brief come-back during the most recent real estate bubble. When I was back in that part of Florida last fall, I saw a sign for — no joking — Ca$h Cow Condo$ and knew the end was neigh (the website has come down, so you’ll have to take my word on how silly it was).

But time-sharing seems to be back yet again. This time, however, it’s Gulfstreams, not Gulf Coast condos, that are being sliced and diced. And the early results appear to be promising. The latest company to jump into the pool — so to speak — is Becton-Dickinson (BDX), which included this time-sharing agreement with Chairman and CEO Edward Ludwig in the K it filed yesterday. CSC Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems (CVC), filed four similar agreements for its top two executives on Wednesday. Ditto for Western Refining (WNR), National City Corp. (NCC) and Thomas Weisel Partners (TWPG). I first noticed this trend last month, when I footnoted (and handed out a rare gold star) to General Electric (GE).

While it’s hard to do an apples-to-apples comparision of all the different agreements, the fact that a growing number of companies are entering into them is something of a hopeful sign.