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HFS Shares Rise on Report It Is Close to Buying Avis

June 28, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ Shares of motel and real estate franchiser HFS Inc. rose 6 percent Friday on a report that it was close to buying car renter Avis Inc. for about $800 million.

The deal could be announced as early as Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Word of the impending purchase follows reports early this month that HFS was in talks with Avis. At the time, Avis would only confirm it had received an unsolicited proposal from a publicly held company but would not name the company or elaborate.

Janis Jarosz, a spokeswoman for HFS Inc., declined to comment Friday morning when contacted by The Associated Press. Messages left at employee-controlled Avis were not immediately returned.

HFS shares gained $4.12 1/2 by late afternoon to $70 each on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of General Motors Corp., which controls 29 percent of Avis, fell 25 cents to $52.37 1/2 on the NYSE.

Talks between the two companies have progressed rapidly in recent weeks and General Motors is backing the deal, the Journal said, citing unidentified sources. GM spokeswoman Toni Simonetti declined to comment.

HFS, the nation’s largest hotel and real estate franchiser, is interested in Avis for its franchising operations and reservations system.

The holdings of HFS, which is based in Parsippany, N.J., include Days Inn, Ramada, Howard Johnson and Travelodge. Avis, based in Garden City, N.Y., has been largely owned by its employees since 1987.

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