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Avis Budget Group
on Wednesday issued a counteroffer to acquire Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group,
about 17 percent higher than the offer Hertz signed in April.
Avis Budget chairman and CEO Ronald Nelson said in a letter to Dollar Thrifty's
top executives that its merger agreement "contains substantially the same
terms as the Hertz merger agreement, but includes removing the matching rights,
eliminating the breakup fees and increasing the commitment to secure antitrust
approvals." The company's bid, $46.50 per share or more than $1.3 billion,
is below Dollar Thrifty's current trading levels but above Hertz's offer of
just under $40 per share, or about $1.2 billion.
After Hertz had announced a definitive agreement to acquire Dollar Thrifty,
Nelson issued a letter to Dollar Thrifty president and CEO Scott Thompson
decrying the terms of the deal and asking for a chance to make a bid, which
Dollar Thrifty later said it would entertain.
Under its agreement with Dollar Thrifty, Hertz has the right to match Avis
Budget's offer, and Dollar Thrifty shareholders will vote whether to approve
the offer in September. Hertz's deal also carries a $45 million break-up fee if
it falls through. Hertz on Wednesday announced that it had refinanced $5.5
billion of fleet debt for North American and European businesses, securing
financing for its fleet and "other purposes."
Any acquisition deal would be subject to regulatory approval. Either deal would
shrink the U.S. major car rental ownership landscape to three companies.
Analysts told BTN they do not expect
either deal to have a large impact on corporate car rental rates.