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May 27, 2020

Hertz spinoff owned by Toronto's Catalyst files for bankruptcy

Hertz files for bankruptcy

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Advantage Holdco Inc., a rental car company that was spun off from Hertz Global Holdings Inc., filed for bankruptcy for a third time.

Advantage listed up to US$1 billion in liabilities and up to US$500 million in assets in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in Delaware on Tuesday. The largest creditor listed is Aberdeen Standard Investments with a US$30.2-million loan. The filing includes affiliates Advantage Vehicles LLC and E-Z Rent A Car.

The case comes days after Hertz itself filed for Chapter 11 as travel restrictions imposed to control the spread of COVID-19 killed demand for rental cars.

Orlando, Florida-based Advantage is 100 per cent owned by funds affiliated with Catalyst Capital Group Inc., court documents show. Catalyst Fund Limited Partnership IV owns 66.7 per cent of the company while Catalyst Fund Limited Partnership III holds 33.3 per cent. Catalyst Capital is a Toronto-based investment firm founded by Newton Glassman.

Catalyst started investing in Advantage in 2013 as it was being spun off by Hertz at the request of competition regulators. It received court protection from creditors that year amid a conflict with Hertz — which, on top of being a competitor, was also leasing cars and providing financing to Advantage. Hertz is listed as a creditor of Advantage in Tuesday’s filing, being owed US$456,000 for fuel.

Advantage also filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2008, when it closed about 40 per cent of its U.S. retail locations because of a drop in leisure travel, increased costs and frozen credit markets on the heels of the financial crisis. At the time, Advantage was owned by Minnesota auto dealership mogul Denny Hecker, who later served over seven years in prison for conspiracy and bankruptcy fraud.

The case is Advantage Holdco Inc., 20-11259, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.