Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa-Based Avis Drops Bid for Dollar Thrifty

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa-Based Avis Drops Bid for Dollar Thrifty

Article excerpt

A month after Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. said "Let's see your best and final offer" in a letter to Avis Budget Group Inc. and Hertz Global Holdings Inc., Avis has walked away.

Avis Budget Group, citing current market conditions, said it had decided not to pursue a transaction at this time. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Wednesday, Avis made the announcement that it was bowing out of the bidding process.

The move appears to pave the way for Hertz Global to nab rival Dollar Thrifty.

Hertz has had a significantly higher bid, with a cash-and-stock offer valued at $1.91 billion - topping the Avis bid by about $400 million. The Avis bid was valued at $1.55 billion.

No other companies have submitted offers.

But an Edmond-based analyst wondered on Wednesday if the other shoe might drop.

"Does that just leave Hertz, or will another player emerge?" asked Greg Womack, president of Womack Investment Advisers Inc. of Edmond, "

The investment community has suspected Avis would drop its bid since the company repurchased Avis Europe in June, said Katie Michaels-Johnson, portfolio manager for Tulsa-based Fredric E. Russell Investment Management Co.

"Now we will find out if the Dollar Thrifty board and shareholders are serious about making a deal with Hertz, or if they think the company will be stronger on its own," Michaels-Johnson said. "Dollar Thrifty could certainly do well as an independent company, but $1.91 billion might be hard to turn down."

Tulsa-based finance entrepreneur M. "Jake" Dollarhide, CEO of Longbow Asset Management, writing in his blog "The Markets" for The Journal Record, said it is up to Hertz to make the call.

"Avis cleared up a lot of things when it announced that they had officially dropped out of the Dollar Thrifty bidding war," Dollarhide said.

In his blog, Dollarhide questioned whether Hertz would make one final push to acquire Dollar Thrifty and what Dollar Thrifty shareholder expectations are, given recent ugly conditions in the stock market. …

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