UPDATE 2-Hertz receives antitrust nod for Dollar Thrifty acquisition

Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:15pm EST
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By A. Ananthalakshmi

Nov 15 (Reuters) - Hertz Global Holdings Inc won approval from U.S. antitrust regulators for its $2.56 billion bid for smaller car rental rival Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group , bringing an end to a more than two-year long takeover saga.

Hertz agreed to divest 13 additional airports than it had originally proposed in order to get the go-ahead from the Federal Trade Commission, which voted 4-1 in favor of the deal.

Hertz, which had initially proposed to sell 16 locations, will divest a total of 29 on-airport Dollar Thrifty locations, under the terms of the settlement.

It will also sell its Advantage brand, which competes with Dollar Thrifty in the low-cost segment of the market, to Franchise Services of North America and Macquarie Capital.

The deal, as it was originally proposed, would have harmed competition at 72 U.S. airports by reducing competition and giving the combined company a free reign to increase rental car rates, the FTC said.

"American consumers rent more than 50 million vehicles at airports nationwide each year, spending $11 billion, so this is a real pocketbook issue for everyday people," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said.

The Dollar Thrifty acquisition will firmly secure Hertz's No. 2 position in the $22 billion U.S. car rental industry, ahead of Avis Budget Group Inc. Privately held Enterprise Holdings is the biggest player.   Continued...