Hertz To Buy Dollar Thrifty… For Real This Time

This is like one of those romantic comedies where a couple makes it oh-so-close to the altar only to break up, then spends years realizing that they made a mistake and they should get hitched, have babies and move to Connecticut… Except it’s about two rental car companies, so it’s even sexier.

The folks at Hertz and Dollar Thrifty have been trying to make a go of it for about five years now. And as recently as 2010, it looked like it was a done deal.

But in the years since that deal fell apart, Dollar Thrifty has apparently gone on a journey of self-improvement, as today’s announced sale price is more than double the $1.2 billion offered two years ago.

“We are pleased to have finally reached an agreement with Dollar Thrifty after a lengthy – but worthwhile – pursuit,” declared Hertz CEO Mark Frissora while avoiding eye contact and typing furiously at his workstation (and intermittently talking to the guys in the lot via walkie-talkie). “We have always believed that a combination with Dollar Thrifty is the best strategic option for both companies.”

Bloomberg reports — and we agree — that this merger will likely be the last major rental car acquisition that escapes regulatory review. Hertz, Enterprise and Avis Budget already control around 75% of the market. Dollar Thrifty, the only remaining rental company with more than 1% market share, will contribute about 5% to this pool.