FTC Seeks Public Comment on Franchise Services of North America’s Application to Sell Assets Related to Simply Wheelz to Hertz and Avis Budget Group

For Your Information

The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on an application submitted by Franchise Services of North America, Inc. (FSNA) to approve the sale of 22 former Advantage Rent A Car locations, none of which are currently operating, to Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. (Hertz) and Avis Budget Group (Avis). 

FSNA acquired the locations from Hertz under a 2012 FTC settlement with Hertz. The settlement required Hertz to sell its Advantage rental car business and other assets to a Commission-approved buyer to resolve charges that its proposed $2.3 billion acquisition of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. would have been anticompetitive.  Under the terms of the FTC order, for a period of three years following the entry of the order, any sale of divested assets by FSNA requires Commission approval.

On November 5, 2013, FSNA, through a subsidiary, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and sought to sell Advantage, which continued to operate during the proceedings. Following a bankruptcy auction held in December 2013, the Catalyst Group LLC was declared the winning bidder for the Advantage assets. The bankruptcy court approved Catalyst’s acquisition of Advantage, subject to FTC approval, which it obtained on January 30, 2014.

Catalyst ultimately decided to operate at 40 of the Advantage locations and to exclude the remaining 28 locations from its purchase. Those locations have been closed since Catalyst won its bid. The bankruptcy court has now approved a request by FSNA to sell 22 of these “non-transferred” locations -- 10 to Hertz and 12 to Avis. Six locations remain unsold. Accordingly, FSNA is now seeking FTC approval to sell the 22 locations to Hertz and Avis, as described in the bankruptcy court order. In its application, FSNA explains that it will attempt to find purchasers for the remaining six “non-transferred” locations. FSNA’s sale of the Advantage assets has not been finalized, and it is working together with Catalyst to sell the “non-transferred” locations.

The Commission will decide whether to approve the proposed divestitures after expiration of a 30-day public comment period. Public comments may be submitted until May 19, 2014. Written comments should be sent to: FTC Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Comments can also be submitted electronically.

Copies of the application can be found on the FTC’s website and as a link to this press release. (FTC File No. 131-0163, Docket No. C-4376; the staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2526)

The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action. To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to antitrust{at}ftc{dot}gov, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 601 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Room 7117, Washington, DC 20001. To learn more about the Bureau of Competition, read Competition Counts. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:             

Mitchell J. Katz,
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2161