United Rentals Exploring Possible Sale; CEO to Retire

United Rentals said it may sell the company and that its chief executive will step down in June, pushing its shares higher.

Michael Kneeland, who is currently chief operating officer, will succeed Wayland Hicks as interim chief executive, the equipment rental company said.

United Rentals said it has retained investment banks UBS and Credit Suisse Group to act as financial advisers while the company explores its options, which may include a possible sale of the company.

The shares' 52-week high of $37.84 came on May 9 of last year.

Greenwich, Conn.-based United Rentals says it is the largest equipment rental company in the world, with a network of nearly 700 rental locations in 48 states, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico.

They rent everything from backhoes and excavators for demolition work to welders and generators needed for pipe fabrication.

Private equity firms have shown some interest in the rental sector in the past. In October, Swedish compressor and machinery maker Atlas Copcoagreed to sell most of its U.S. equipment rental business to Ripplewood Holdings and Oak Hill Capital Management.

United Rental's market capitalization is $2.23 billion, according to Reuters data.