Hertz Is Headed For The Cliff

Illustration for article titled Hertz Is Headed For The Cliff
Photo: Getty Images (Getty Images)

The internet-boosted company that’s not GameStop is in a “tumble toward zero,” as the Wall Street Journal reports. Things do not look good for anyone involved.

Advertisement

Let me catch you up on what has happened the car rental company that is also America’s favorite purveyor of questionable ex-rental cars that happen to be Corvettes and Mustangs. Before people buying shares online through Robinhood started boosting the much-shorted shares of GameStop for fun and profit, Hertz went through the same sort of ringer. Like GameStop, there is something obviously outdated, obviously doomed about Hertz’s business model. And like GameStop, shares did skyrocket for a moment. Hertz stock saw a 900 percent rally after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the middle of 2020.

Less like GameStop is that Hertz shares have utterly collapsed since then, as the WSJ details:

Shares of Hertz Global Holdings Inc. HTZGQ -36.38% continued their tumble toward zero Wednesday, one day after the car-rental company unveiled a restructuring proposal to exit bankruptcy that will wipe out existing shareholders.

Shares of Hertz fell to 88 cents, losing 26% on the day. The fall marked the second day of bruising losses for the company’s stock after it tumbled 28% on Tuesday to $1.19.

Under Hertz’s restructuring proposal, shareholders will receive no distribution, meaning they will receive no recovery from the proposed deal. Hertz said it plans to be a private company when it leaves bankruptcy. The car-rental company, one of many companies deeply wounded by the coronavirus pandemic, filed for bankruptcy protection last May.

This comes just a few days after a pair of very ominously-named equity investors — Knighthead Capital Management and Certares Management —sought to dump $4.2 billion into the dying husk of Hertz, as the Financial Times reported on the 2nd:

Hertz has received a $4.2bn rescue offer from a group of travel industry investors that aims bring the car rental company — which has been battered by the pandemic — out of bankruptcy.

[...]

Under the terms of the plan, the investors proposed an equity investment for about $2.3bn of Hertz’s reorganized common stock and will make a rights offering worth $1.9bn to all unsecured creditors.

The plan also includes injecting $1bn in first-lien financing and an additional $1.5bn revolving credit facility, along with an unspecified new asset-backed securitisation facility to help Hertz revamp its fleet of vehicles in the US.

The plan needs to be approved by a bankruptcy court. A hearing has been scheduled for April 16.

Advertisement

Now, it is possible — conceivable, even — that soon vaccines make everyone safe enough to travel freely again, and our pent-up demand for flights and vacations will revitalize Hertz completely. It just doesn’t look likely that Hertz will survive to see that day, and the stock market seems to agree.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

DISCUSSION

“Like GameStop, there is something obviously outdated, obviously doomed about Hertz’s business model.”

What? No. Hertz ending up screwed by the Pandemic doesn’t mean Hertz business model was outdated, or obviously doomed. It obviously didn’t hold up to a worldwide pandemic, and might have been bad, but that’s not obvious.

Avis Budget is doing just fine, so “renting cars” is also not an outdated or doomed business model.

By this reasoning most local restaurants are also outdated and obviously doomed.