Retirement of Dollar Thrifty CEO Prompts Speculation of Sale to Hertz

Now that Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. has replaced its President and CEO, a national analyst said Oct. 14 that the leadership change may speed the car rental company’s sale to a rival.

Dollar Thrifty announced on Oct. 13 that Chief Financial Officer Scott L. Thompson would replace Gary L. Paxton as president and CEO. Paxton will remain a director at Dollar Thrifty and will provide transition support through the end of the year, when he will retire.

Soleil Securities Group analyst Michael Millman wrote in a note to investors on Oct. 14 that the move might allow the company to act on strategic alternatives more quickly.

The analyst said, however, that a sale is probably Dollar Thrifty’s best alternative. He expects the company to be acquired by Hertz.

Fred Russell, principal with Fredric E. Russell Investment Management in Tulsa, agreed that Hertz is a likely buyer. Combining Hertz and Dollar Thrifty would offer many efficiencies, Russell said, including the combining of information technology, accounting, reservation systems and marketing.

"Dollar Thrifty is backed into a corner right now," the money manager said. "With a stock price of $1, it would be very hard for management to resist a reasonable offer."

At midyear, the Tulsa-based Dollar Thrifty employed 8,500 people worldwide and about 970 in Tulsa.

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