FTC looking into Macquarie's car rental company deal: source

Fri Apr 5, 2013 9:13pm EDT

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(Reuters) - U.S. antitrust regulators are looking into the consent decree that allows Macquarie Group Ltd's (MQG.AX) private equity business to buy the Advantage rental car brand from Hertz Global Holdings Inc (HTZ.N), a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

At the time of approving Hertz's $2.56 billion bid for Dollar Thrifty Automotive, the Federal Trade Commission -concerned about the number of major rental car chains shrinking to three from four - demanded that Hertz sell locations, recreating a fourth competitor after Dollar Thrifty was absorbed.

On November 15, Hertz sold its Advantage brand, which competes with Dollar Thrifty in the low-cost segment of the market, to Franchise Services of North America (FSN.V) and Macquarie Capital.

FTC could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters outside regular business hours. Macquarie declined to comment.

Privately held Enterprise Holdings is the biggest player in the industry, followed by Hertz's and Avis Budget Group Inc (CAR.O).

Hertz on Tuesday forecast strong earnings and revenue through 2015 due to increasing global demand for car rentals and benefits from its acquisition of Dollar Thrifty.

Bloomberg earlier on Friday reported that the FTC was investigating whether Macquarie's private-equity arm violated a consent decree.

(Reporting by Aditi Shrivastava in Bangalore and Gregory Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Philip Barbara)

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