Less than a year after
being bought by a private-equity consortium, rental-car company Hertz is going public. Late Friday, the company filed an S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission outlining its plans for a public offering. Reports of the offering were published earlier Friday by the Wall Street Journal. The filing did not state the size of the IPO, but it said some proceeds will be used to pay down a $1 billion credit facility the company took out last month. On June 30, Hertz used the facility to pay its private-equity investors, Clayton Dubilier & Rice, Carlyle Group and Merrill Lynch Global Partners, a $999.2 million dividend, according to the prospectus. The private-equity consortium bought Hertz from Ford ( F) last September. The deal bought time for Ford, which along with General Motors ( GM) has been battling for its economic life amid spiraling costs and rising gasoline prices. Last month's $1 billion dividend unnerved some bond analysts. Moody's put Hertz on negative watch two weeks ago because of its ambitious payout to the consortium. "The negative outlook recognizes a potentially more aggressive financial strategy that is reflected in the willingness of Hertz's owners to seek up to $1 billion distribution only six months after completing the buyout of Hertz," the report said. "The debt issued by Hertz Holdings to fund any dividend would have to be serviced by the receipt of dividends from Hertz and could be a source of pressure on the operating subsidiary's financial position." The private-equity investors own over 99% of the shares of the company, some or all of which will be sold in the offering. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, and JPMorgan will all help the company complete its IPO, and the investment banks have a particularly keen interest in ensuring the success of the deal: each is a lender on the credit facility that is being repaid. "Because affiliates of certain of the underwriters are lenders under the Hertz Holdings Loan Facility, affiliates of such underwriters will receive a substantial portion of the proceeds of this offering," the prospectus said.