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Originally published August 27, 2012 at 7:56 PM | Page modified August 27, 2012 at 7:56 PM

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A busy day of big deals

In a day of big deals Monday, IBM said it is picking up software company Kenexa, and The New York Times said it's selling About.com to the parent company of Ask.com.

Seattle Times wire services

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It was a day of big deals Monday.

Hertz announced it is buying rival rental-car company Dollar Thrifty; IBM said it is picking up software company Kenexa; M&T Bank announced it is beefing up its East Coast presence in buying Hudson City Bancorp.; and The New York Times said it's selling its troubled online information service, About.com, to the parent company of Ask.com.

Hertz Global Holdings said Monday it had struck a long-sought deal, acquiring Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group for $2.3 billion as the rental-car industry continues to consolidate.

Hertz and rival Avis Budget Group, the second- and third-largest industry players behind leader Enterprise Rent-A-Car, have been jockeying to buy Dollar Thrifty, the No. 4 company.

"We are pleased to have finally reached an agreement with Dollar Thrifty after a lengthy -- but worthwhile -- pursuit," said Hertz Chief Executive Mark Frissora. "We'll be a stronger global competitive player with a full range of rental options not only in the U.S. but in Europe and other markets, given Dollar Thrifty's strong international presence."

The combined company would have about 10,000 locations around the world and allows Hertz to move into the mid-tier rental-car market with both the Dollar and Thrifty brands.

Hertz will pay $87.50 per share for Dollar Thrifty, about 8 percent above its Friday close.

Dollar Thrifty is the last of the smaller rental-car companies to be snatched up by big players in a consolidation spree that has left consumer advocates worried. The Federal Trade Commission must approve the Hertz deal for Dollar Thrifty.

Showing its concern about possible regulatory hurdles, Hertz said Monday it had agreed to sell its lower-tier Advantage business to Macquarie Capital and Franchise Services of North America, which has several rental-car subsidiaries, including Rent-a-Wreck. The Advantage deal is contingent on Hertz closing its purchase of Dollar Thrifty, Hertz said.

IBM buying Kenexa

IBM is buying human-resources management company Kenexa for about $1.3 billion, it announced Monday, adding to its stable of cloud-based software.

Kenexa's HR software is designed to help companies recruit workers and manage employees with the help of networking tools similar to the ones that connect people on Facebook and LinkedIn.

The Wayne, Pa., company says it has more than 8,900 customers and employs about 2,800 workers. IBM said it plans to continue to support Kenexa's clients while also giving them access to IBM's offerings.

The acquisition helps make the Armonk, N.Y., company more competitive with database maker Oracle and German business software maker SAP, said Rick Sherlund of Nomura Equity Research.

Both Oracle and SAP have recently been buying "cloud computing" companies. Such technology allows businesses to run software remotely rather than installing software in-house.

IBM is hoping to draw upon Kenexa's products and expertise to develop more social-networking tools for corporate customers trying to foster better communication among their employees. Several other software makers also have recently snapped up services that make social-networking services for companies. Redmond-based Microsoft is paying $1.2 billion for Yammer, and Salesforce.com bought Buddy Media for $689 million. Oracle has bought at least three social-software services so far this year.

Through the first half of this year, IBM had completed eight other acquisitions at a total cost of $2.2 billion.

The New York Times selling About.com

The New York Times is selling its troubled online information service, About.com, to the parent company of Ask.com for $300 million in cash. That offer trumped a $270 million bid from Answers.com that was reported three weeks ago.

The Times and IAC/InterActive announced the deal late Sunday. IAC, which also operates the dating site Match.com, is controlled by media mogul Barry Diller.

About.com provides information on a wide variety of topics and also operates ConsumerSearch.com and CalorieCount.com.

Content is written by paid experts known as guides. Ask.com is a search engine that has tried to set itself apart from competitors by focusing on finding answers to search requests posed in the form of a question. Ask.com still ranks far below Google and Microsoft's Bing in terms of use.

IAC said Ask.com and About.com will continue to operate as separate sites and complement each other. The Ask.com search engine can draw on content from About.com in answering those search queries, and Ask.com can boost traffic to About.com by directing more users there.

The Times purchased About.com in 2005 for $410 million. About.com has suffered in the past year because a change in the way Google handles search results made About.com content harder to find.

Although The Times had been upbeat over About's prospects, Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said the sale allows the company to focus on its core brands, which include such newspapers as The New York Times and The Boston Globe.

M&T buying Hudson City

M&T Bank is buying Hudson City Bancorp in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $3.7 billion that will broaden its reach in the Eastern United States.

The buyout includes Hudson City's 135 branch offices in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The combined company will include 870 branches located in states running from Connecticut to Virginia.

M&T says there is very little overlap between its existing branches and those of Hudson City.

Both companies' boards have approved the transaction, but it needs approval from both companies' shareholders.

M&T, based in Buffalo, N.Y., has $80.8 billion in assets. Hudson City, based in Paramus, N.J., has $43.6 billion in assets.

Compiled from The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times

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