Hertz boosts offer on Dollar Thrifty

Customers wait in line at a Dollar rental car counter at San Jose International Airport in San Jose, Calif., on Monday. Hertz sweetened its proposal to acquire Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. in hopes of edging out rival Avis.

NEW YORK -- Hertz is raising the stakes in its pursuit of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. in hopes of besting rival Avis' efforts to acquire the Oklahoma-based car rental agency.

The two vehicle rental heavyweights have been in a virtual tug-of-war over Dollar Thrifty for a little more than a year, with both looking to snag the Tulsa, Okla., company because its clientele is largely the leisure traveler. Hertz and Avis cater mostly to business travelers, so a Dollar Thrifty acquisition would automatically give either one a broader appeal.

Hertz Global Holdings Inc. sweetened the pot on Monday. Its new proposal is worth $72 a share in cash and stock. This includes $57.60 in cash and 0.8546 shares of its common stock. With 31.2 million fully diluted shares of Dollar Thrifty, the Hertz bid is worth about $2.25 billion and 3.3 percent above Dollar Thrifty's closing price last week.

Dollar Thrifty said in a statement on Monday that its board will review Hertz's bid and advised its stockholders not to take any action pending its review.

Investors appeared to be betting that the bidding will go higher. Dollar Thrifty shares climbed $8.78, or 12.6 percent, to $78.47 in midday trading. Hertz's stock gained 10 cents to $16.95, while shares of Avis Budget Group Inc. fell 4 cents to $18.37.

Hertz's revised bid is likely meant to appeal to Dollar Thrifty's stockholders.