Avis Budget Group buys Zipcar

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Zipcar

Avis Budget Group has bought Zipcar , the world’s leading car sharing network, for $500 million – subject to approval by Zipcar shareholders, the deal is expected to be completed in the spring of 2013.

The combined company will be the global leader in car sharing and mobility solutions.

Car sharing has grown to be a nearly $400 million business in the United States and is expanding rapidly in major cities around the world. Zipcar has led this industry, and now has more than 760,000 members, known as Zipsters, with a market­leading presence in 20 major metropolitan areas in the United States, Canada and Europe, and fleet positioned at over 300 college and university campuses.

Zipcar has combined leading-edge technology, an outstanding customer experience, and clear brand messaging to develop strong loyalty and advocacy among its customers.

“By combining with Zipcar, we will significantly increase our growth potential, both in the United States and internationally, and will position our Company to better serve a greater variety of consumer and commercial transportation needs,” said Ronald L. Nelson, Avis Budget Group chairman and chief executive officer. “We see car sharing as highly complementary to traditional car rental, with rapid growth potential and representing a scalable opportunity for us as a combined company. We expect to apply Avis Budget’s experience and efficiencies of fleet management with Zipcar’s proven, customer­friendly technology to accelerate the growth of the Zipcar brand and to provide more options for Zipsters in more places. We also expect to leverage Zipcar’s technology to expand mobility solutions under the Avis and Budget brands.”

Avis Budget expects to generate $50 to $70 million in annual synergies as a result of the transaction. In particular, Avis Budget expects significant cost reductions across the fleet life cycle (from procurement to operations and maintenance to disposition, as well as financing), in addition to savings from eliminating Zipcar’s public­ company costs. Avis Budget also plans to achieve substantial cost savings by increasing fleet utilisation across the two companies. Significant revenue growth opportunities exist, including by leveraging Avis Budget’s fleet to meet more of Zipsters’ weekend demand, which is currently constrained by fleet availability.

Following the acquisition, Zipcar will operate as a subsidiary of Avis Budget Group.