Icahn wins three board seats at Hertz, shares jump

Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:50pm EDT
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By Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Ankit Ajmera

BOSTON (Reuters) - Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who has built his reputation on rebuilding companies, won three board seats at Hertz Global Holdings (HTZ.N: Quote) on Thursday, sending the car rental company's stock price higher in after-hours trading.

Hertz invited Icahn's nominees onto the board less than four weeks after the New York-based investor announced that he had become the company's biggest investor with an 8.7 percent stake and that he planned to push management for changes.

The company's stock price, which has been under pressure this year, climbed $1.32, or 4.76 percent, to $29.07 in after-hours trading on news that Icahn deputies Vincent Intrieri, Samuel Merksamer and Daniel Ninivaggi would join the board.

The trio will replace three board members who are stepping down. Icahn said that, in exchange for the seats, he would not run a proxy contest.

"This agreement eliminates distraction and ensures that we stay sharply focused on delivering the significant potential of the business," Linda Fayne Levinson, Hertz' independent non-executive board chair, said in a statement.

For Hertz, it has already been a tumultuous week, kicked off with news on Monday that Mark Frissora, the company's chairman and chief executive officer, had stepped down amid pressure from Icahn and others. Hedge fund Fir Tree said publicly last month that the CEO had "lost credibility." It declined to comment on Thursday.

A day later, an administrative error made by Icahn's team in a regulatory filing incorrectly suggested that the billionaire had upped his ownership in Gannett Co Inc (GCI.N: Quote) while in fact he was only converting Hertz options into common stock.

Two of Icahn's representatives will join the search committee to find a permanent replacement for Frissora, the company said. Last month, some big-name investors said they wanted Scott Thompson, former CEO of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, to replace Frissora.   Continued...

Billionaire activist-investor Carl Icahn gives an interview on FOX Business Network's Neil Cavuto show in New York February 11, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid