Zipcar reassures members about acquisition by Avis

Andrew Harrer/BLOOMBERG - The Zipcar logo is displayed on the side of a Scion xB in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, June 3, 2010.

Zipcar on Wednesday reached out to its members, who may be wondering where they stand after hearing the news that Avis has acquired the car-sharing service.

In an e-mail, the car-sharing company was long on optimism — and short on specifics— about how the deal will affect its user base of at least 767,000 drivers who can reserve the cars online or via smartphones by the hour. The service charges users an hourly fee in addition to annual membership dues.

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“Simply put, this is a major win for Zipsters around the world,” said Scott Griffith, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer. “With the global footprint, backing, and talented leadership of Avis, we’re going to step on the gas.”

Griffith also assured users that certain aspects of the service, including Zipcar’s local teams and commitment to customer service, won’t change.

Avis, which also operates the Budget car rental service, paid around $500 million for Zipcar, at a price of $12.25 per share in cash.

Other details are less clear. Zipcar public relations manager Colleen McCormick said that without the final details in place the company can’t speculate on how the deal will affect rates or fees.

Representatives from both companies said in an official statement that the deal will expand Zipcar’s footprint to more places around the country. Currently Zipcar has more than 10,000 vehicles and serves 20 major metropolitan areas. The service is particularly popular in urban areas and among college students, as schools often restrict certain students from bringing their own cars to campus.

Zipcar, founded in 2000, was originally only available in Boston, New York City, San Francisco and Washington. It went public in April 2011 at $18 per share.

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