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Dollar Thrifty Extends Deadline In Hertz Merger Vote

By Doug Cameron and Maxwell Murphy Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. (DTG) is expected to announce the result of a shareholders vote on the $1.5 billion bid from Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (HTZ) around 12:15 p.m. EDT after a last-minute flurry of proxies. The car rental group's chairman, Thomas Capo, said there had been a "large volume" of votes this morning as he opened a special shareholders' meeting. Voting started at 11:05 a.m. EDT, but Capo subsequently delayed the expected announcement by an hour. The meeting was attended by around 20 shareholders, many of them from hedge funds. The special meeting of holders in Chicago will determine whether the Hertz bid wins, leaving antitrust clearance as the only hurdle to a combination of Hertz, the second-largest car-rental company, and fourth-largest player Dollar Thrifty. Dollar Thrifty holders, many reported to be merger arbitrageurs and hedge funds looking to get in on a bidding war started by Hertz's April bid, may vote against the deal hoping Dollar Thrifty then accepts a higher offer from rival Avis Budget Group Inc. (CAR). Avis late Wednesday added a $20 million reverse break-up fee to its proposal in hopes of addressing Dollar Thrifty concerns about such a fee being in Hertz's agreement but not in Avis's offer. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Boston hedge fund PAR Capital Management Inc., Dollar Thrifty's largest holder with a nearly 8% stake, would vote against the deal. It also said merger arbitrageurs control around 60% of Dollar Thrifty stock. Hertz on Wednesday reiterated its position that its offer, worth $50.99 at Hertz's Wednesday closing price, was its best and final, and said it would walk away from the deal if Dollar Thrifty holders voted against the merger. Avis's offer was worth $53.33 at Wednesday's close. Dollar Thrifty shares were at $50.09 in recent Thursday trading, down 1 cent, while Hertz stock was off 5.3% at $10.99, lowering its bid value to $50.60 a share, and Avis was off 1.2% at $11.38 apiece, making its offer worth $53.24. -By Doug Cameron, Dow Jones Newswires; 312-750-4135; -By Maxwell Murphy, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2171;

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