Avis to Buy Zipcar, But Will We Be Left to Zip in Peace?
Rental car company Avis will buy Zipcar, the Cambridge-based short term rental service, for $500 million, pending shareholder approval, the companies announced today. We’re already seeing fans of the newer, more nimble Zipcar stressing out on social media that the bulkier, more traditional Avis will muck things up. The Globe’s Scott Kirsner expresses this most wittily:
Avis says the 2 key things it can introduce to Zipcar’s model are velvet-rope queues & carbon copy forms in quadruplicate.
— Scott Kirsner (@ScottKirsner) January 2, 2013
That’s a joke, of course, and in fact both companies seem to be emphasizing that there will be more continuity than anything else. Zipcar will continue with its planned move from Cambridge to Boston, where it will operate as a subsidiary of Avis. Avis’s CEO said in his statement that his company is “committed to retaining the elements of the Zipcar brand and culture that have allowed Zipcar to achieve such rapid growth and success,” according to Boston Business Journal. That said, they’re also looking to pocket a little change and streamline the two operations, according to the New York Times:
Avis said it expected to reap significant cost reductions in acquiring Zipcar, including savings on its fleet. It also said Avis’s fleet could meet more of Zipcar’s heavy weekend demand. Avis said it expected annual “synergies” of $50 million to $70 million.
Zipcar was founded in 2000, but this is actually the first fiscal year in which its turned a profit. (It made $4 million, says the Times.)