AP News

Dollar Thrifty "go shop" period ends without a bid

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. said Wednesday that the deadline for competing bids to buy the rental car company expired without a bid being submitted.

Last month, the Tulsa, Okla.-based company reached a deal to sell itself to Hertz Global Holdings Inc. for $87.50 per share, or about $2.3 billion. As part of the agreement, Dollar Thrifty had a month to solicit competing bids and that period ended on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a Hertz affiliate began a tender offer for Dollar Thrifty shares earlier this month. The tender offer expires on Oct. 5 and the deal remains subject to Dollar Thrifty shareholder approval.

Dollar Thrifty's board is recommending that the company's shareholders vote to accept the deal and tender their shares.

The deal between two of the nation's largest car rental companies ends talks that first started in 2010. Avis Budget Group Inc. was also in the mix, pursuing a bid for Dollar Thrifty for more than a year.

But Avis dropped its bid nearly a year ago, citing market conditions. Then, in October 2011, Hertz dropped its bid, too. But Dollar Thrifty didn't trust that the years of buyout attempts were over. In February, it extended its shareholder rights plan known as a "poison pill" — a maneuver designed to deter any unsolicited attempts to take over the company — through May 2013.

More recently, it appeared Dollar Thrifty was open to another bid. Last month, it urged for either a "compelling offer" or an end to the "constant distraction of merger speculation." Later in August, media reports said that Hertz was considering a new bid for Dollar Thrifty.

Hertz expects savings of at least $160 million a year by combining the companies, while providing the opportunity for increased sales.

In premarket trading, Dollar Thrifty shares fell 15 cents to $86.50, while Hertz shares slipped 4 cents to $13.73.

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