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Brand longevity & the Hertz history…

July 24th, 2008

     I received the latest edition of one of my favorite magazines yesterday, The Deal, and found an interesting article on Hertz rental cars and the history the brand had gone through relative to the different suitors that had acquired the company.  What jumped out at me immediately was how old the brand actually was, and what a great fun fact this info is.  The brand was started in 1918 by a Walter Jacobs who founded the company in Chicago with a dozen Model T’s!  Within 5 years the company was already doing $1 million in revenue.  Adjusted for a modest 3% annual inflation figures it’s almost $15 million in todays figures. The company then went through a number of acquisitions over the next 5 decades.  One of the more notable though was it’s acquistion by United Airlines in 1967 for a price of $567 million from RCA Corp. Now we don’t usually equate corporate M&A performance with that of the folks specializing in it, especially airline M&A, but United ended up divesting Hertz in one of the largest LBO’s (that is until the $25 billion purchase of Nabisco). That’s a multiple most would be envious of. 

     The article went into more detail on the current financial sitution of the company, their strategic direction, and some further changes. What’s always fun though is to learn of the history behind a brand, especially those that aren’t as recent as the iPod, Prius cars, or even IBM. 

Thanks for reading . . . .

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