Avis giants unite in £636m deal

The US car hire giant Avis Budget is to buy its European counterpart in a £636m deal that reunites the two businesses after 25 years. The swoop for the London-listed Avis Europe, which operates the Avis and Budget brands in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, already has the support of the Belgium-based motoring group D'Ieteren, which owns 60 per cent of the company.

Avis Europe separated from Avis in 1986 and tripled in value over the following three years before reverting to private ownership under D'Ieteren, General Motors and Avis. It floated on the London Stock Exchange for the second time in 1997. Avis Budget said the deal would help it to target markets such as India and China.

In 1946, Warren Avis opened the world's first airport car-rental location at Willow Run Airport, Detroit, with just three cars in the fleet. It founded its European division in 1965.