Icahn discloses Hertz stake, plans talks with co.

Icahn discloses 8.5-pct stake in Hertz, plans to have talks with rental car company

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Activist investor Carl Icahn has taken an 8.5 percent stake in Hertz, saying he plans to have talks with the rental car company and may seek representation on its board.

Icahn disclosed Wednesday that he had paid about $470.5 million for 38.8 million Hertz shares, including underlying call options. That would make him the company's biggest shareholder, according to FactSet data.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Icahn said he wants to talk about accounting issues, operating problems and his lack of confidence in company management.

Hertz issued a statement late Wednesday that did not mention Icahn by name but said its board and executives "value the views of all Hertz shareholders and welcome a constructive dialogue with them." It went on to list the steps the company is taking to turn its business around.

In June, Hertz Global Holdings Inc. said it needed to review and correct financial statements from the last three years because of accounting errors. It has delayed its second-quarter filing as a result. On Tuesday the company withdrew its guidance for 2014, saying it would come up far short of expectations.

It said a spate of auto recalls is hurting its business, operating costs are higher than it anticipated, savings from its acquisition of Dollar Thrifty haven't yet met its expectations and demand for business equipment rentals is weak. The Park Ridge, New Jersey, company also said the accounting review affected its guidance.

Icahn is famous for buying stock in underperforming companies and pressuring them to make changes, and often selling out for a profit. His recent targets have included Apple, eBay and Dell.

Hertz shares lost $1.23, or 3.9 percent, to $30.33 on Wednesday and rose 22 cents in aftermarket trading. The stock is up 6 percent in 2014.

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