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Avis Set to Complete Zipcar Buyout

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Global vehicle rental giant Avis Budget Group Inc. (CAR - Free Report) has successfully completed the waiting period under the U.S. Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 for its pending acquisition of the world’s leading car sharing network company, Zipcar Inc. , on Feb 11, 2013.

Following this, the conclusion of the deal is dependent on the approval by Zipcar shareholders and review by UK authorities. The company now expects to complete the deal in March or April this year.

Avis had agreed to buy Zipcar in Jan 2013 for a total worth of $500 million. This strategic move will facilitate the company in expanding its offerings from car rental to car sharing and compete with rivals United Rentals Inc. (URI - Free Report) and Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (HTZ - Free Report) , which has its own car sharing service, Hertz On Demand.

To finance this deal, Avis Budget will opt for corporate borrowings and use its available cash. At the end of Sept 30, 2012, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock had cash and marketable securities of nearly $554 million.

Avis Budget believes that the transaction will generate an annual synergy in the range of $50–$70 million. Further, we believe that the acquisition will lead to increasing revenues and reduce costs by augmenting fleet utilization.

In the United States alone, car sharing is currently a lucrative business worth nearly $400 million and it is growing rapidly in other parts of the world. With over 760,000 members, Zipcar has presence in 20 major cities of U.S., Canada and Europe.

We believe that by capitalizing on Zipcar’s strong network along with its leading-edge technology, Avis Budget will definitely be able to boost its top and bottom lines.

Zipcar is engaged in operating car sharing network, providing self-service vehicles to members located in reserved parking spaces throughout the neighborhoods where they live and work. The company's vehicles are available for use through its reservation system accessible by phone, internet or wireless mobile devices.

Avis Budget will today release its financial results for fiscal 2012. The company had earlier forecasted revenue of approximately $7.3 billion and earnings in the range of $2.35–$2.45 per share for fiscal 2012. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2012 stands at $2.41 per share, which is within the company’s projected guidance range.

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