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.

Market Report: Home Retail in demand as takeover talk returns

The takeover spotlight returned to Home Retail last night, prompting a late surge for the Argos owner after market gossips reheated chatter it could be about to receive a bid.

Balearic beauty: The enduring charm of Mallorca

A glorious villa, an island's worth of majestic views, plentiful sunshine... Just make sure you can handle Mallorca's hairpin bends...

Simon Calder: The mystery of the missing hatchback

The man who pays his way

Travel Challenge: Canada's west coast

Every week we invite three competing companies to give us their best deal for a specific holiday. Today: a family trip to Canada's west coast, departing early August. Prices are for four people. All hotels are room only...

Car-hire giants in U-turn over electric fleet

A pressure group has now accused Paris city hall of organising unfair and publicly subsidised competition

Questions of cash: Internet booking mess is no laughing matter

Q. Hertz has charged me twice for a single period of car hire. I paid in full and six months in advance for 14 days' car hire at Funchal. The flight was delayed badly at Glasgow, and as there was no phone number on my Hertz voucher, I was unable to notify of the delay, or advise that we would collect the car the next day. At the airport I asked the woman at the Hertz desk to notify the relevant staff of the delay and to explain that we would collect the vehicle the following day. She told us this was "fixed". But on my return home it seemed that Hertz had charged me an extra £255.22, which seems to be a duplicate charge for the car hire, plus an extra £2.26 – for what, I don't know. VL, Isle of Arran.

The real junior apprentices: Pupils are encouraged to run their own businesses at Lincoln Castle Academy

But will cuts spell the end of schemes like this?

The Business On... Jack Petchey, Businessman and philanthropist

What's his line of work?

Travel challenge: A Greek villa holiday in August

Each week we invite three competing travel companies to give us their best deal for a specific holiday. Today: a week-long villa holiday with a private pool in Greece. Prices are for a family of four, departing early August...

Charles Nevin: The sweet smell of success

Start the week: The Odor-Eaters National Rotten Sneakers Contest was won this year by a nine-year-old from Utah

Zippy market debut for car hire pioneer

Zipcar, the hire-car service for city dwellers, listed its shares on Nasdaq yesterday, surging 66 per cent within minutes. The 10-year-old company, which bought its UK copycat Streetcar last year, raised $173.4m after pricing its shares above the range.

Before driving off, give the hire contract due care and consideration

Rental companies can pepper their agreements with many hidden charges which could cost the incautious driver dear.

Herault in Langedoc: getting there and around

With its unspoilt sandy coast, its tranquil green interior and its dramatic highlands, Hérault offers an impressive range of landscapes and activities.

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Panama
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Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam