NEW YORK (
withdrew its bid Thursday for
Dollar Thrifty Automotive
( DTG), making a sale process that's lasted over a year highly unlikely. Both Hertz and Dollar Thrifty are in disagreement on price.
In its pullback today, Hertz cited market conditions and Dollar Thrifty's share buyback program as making its $72 a share cash and stock exchange unattractive. Dollar Thrifty in October said it would buy back as much as $400 million of stock.
Hertz will continue to pursue regulatory approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for the purchase, and is considering a new lower offer according to a regulatory filing. "Hertz continues to believe that a merger with Dollar Thrifty is in the best interests of both companies," the company said in a statement.
Earlier in October, Dollar Thrifty pulled itself from the selling block, stating it hadn't received and acceptable offer. For the nations shrinking 4th largest car rental company, it takes the wind out shares, which have rallied over 30% this year on takeover rumors.
Dollar Thrifty shares are down nearly 2% to $60.55 in early trading.
In April 2010,
began bidding on Dollar Thrifty, submitting a takeover offer of $41 a share, which was subsequently raised as high $72 a share for the nation's fourth largest rental car chain in a cash and stock exchange. That June, Dollar Thrifty's board recommended that shareholders reject the exchange. In September,
Avis Budget Group
dropped a $1.6 billion competing bid, leaving Hertz as the only likely buyer.
Shares of Dollar Thrifty have fallen since reaching an all-time high above $84 as takeover talks drew longer, antitrust concerns emerged as a result of market concentration issues -- and a spike in oil prices and the sustainability of economic recovery dampened sales.
In August, Hertz received a second request from the Federal Trade Commission on its examination of its merger proposal with Dollar Thrifty. "We will be monitoring the antitrust regulatory process and other circumstances carefully, and our board will reconsider its recommendation if the situation warrants," said Dollar Thrifty CEO Scott Thompson earlier in the summer.
To get antitrust clearance to by the 4th largest automaker Dollar Thrifty, Hertz had looked to sell its Advantage brand to remedy market concentration concern.
According to a recent survey by research firm
, the four largest car rental companies in the U.S. control roughly 83% of the market, with
holding the largest 40% market share, Hertz second at 20%, Avis at 19% and Dollar Thrifty a long fourth at less than 6% of the overall market.
After reporting a $346.7 million loss in 2008 as a result of the recession and a pullback in auto travel stemming from high oil prices, Dollar Thrifty regained profitability in 2009 and 2010 -- its most profitable year on record since going public in 1997. After growing revenue from recession lows, the Tulsa, Okla., -based company Dollar Thrifty reported a fall in revenue from the same period a year earlier in its most recent quarter ended June 30th.
In a regulatory filing Thursday,
disclosed it paid $151 million for reviews company
, a deal that's seen to bolster its competitiveness against online reviews competitors like Yelp. The restaurants and retail reviews purchase followed a similar acquisition of
, a company that provides data about travel search, for $676 million. Both acquisitions signal a push by Google to bolster its already dominant search capabilities.
has bought out its
50% stake in their Sony Ericsson mobile phone venture for ¿1.05 billion ($1.5 billion) in cash. The buyout ends a partnership started in 2001 that created the world's sixth largest mobile phone maker.
The mobile handset business will become a subsidiary of Sony and allows Sony to integrate smartphones into its line-up of network-connected consumer electronics devices. For Japan's largest consumer electronics exporter, it's also a signal of where the company sees future growth - principally smartphones and computing.
The buyout will allow Sony to integrate its smartphone capabilities with its tablet, personal computer and handheld video games businesses. It's also seen as a way to stay in competitive stride with
and Samsung in new smartphone and tablet sales.
Sony shares rose over 4% to $21.50 in early trading. The company stock is down nearly 40% year to date on slowing T.V. concerns and a March earthquake in Japan that devastated businesses and killed more than 10,000.
In a press release announcing the deal, Sony chief executive Sir Howard Stringer said, "With a vibrant smartphone business and by gaining access to important strategic IP, notably a broad cross-license agreement, our four-screen strategy is in place. We can more rapidly and more widely offer consumers smartphones, laptops, tablets and televisions that seamlessly connect with one another and open up new worlds of online entertainment."
Sony's purchase also gives it intellectual property cross-licensing agreements covering all products and services of Sony and ownership of five patent families relating to wireless handset technology.
The transaction is expected to close in January.
Sony's buyout also show that not all joint ventures work. On Monday, a day after accepting a $4.9 billion joint bid with
walked away from the joint venture.
It was a change in course from last Friday when the Indian-steelmaker ArcelorMittal and U.S. coal giant Peabody announced they'd received approval from Macarthur's largest shareholder China's
to take a majority stake in the world's largest miner of the coal used to make steel. Mittal said in its walk away, "ArcelorMittal considers that the capital commitment that would be required to retain its Macarthur interest and grow it materially further, exceeds what is appropriate to allocate to a business that ArcelorMittal does not fully control and consolidate" - signaling that 50-50 sometimes isn't good enough.
Earlier in October,
jet engine division
Pratt & Whitney
bought out a $1.5 billion joint venture with
, ending a troubled
IAE International Aero Engines
trans-Atlantic partnership between to build V2500 jet engines the partnership produces.
Signaling that the British and U.S. aircraft engine giants have brushed off previous legal bouts stemming from their IAE partnership, they also announced they are a new joint venture to make mid-sized 120-230 passenger plane engines to replace the existing fleet over a multi-decade span.
-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York
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