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Volkswagen said that it is considering acquiring a majority stake in car rental company Europcar.

Charles Platiau/Reuters

Germany’s Volkswagen confirmed on Thursday it is considering acquiring a majority stake in car rental company Europcar as it seeks to tap into the trend for consumers to rent rather than own a vehicle.

Volkswagen said it was considering a potential transaction, together with investors Attestor and Pon Holdings, although considerations were at a very early stage and no decisions had been taken.

Company sources told Reuters a year ago that VW wanted to buy back Europcar, which it sold to French financial investor Eurazeo in 2006 for €3.3-billion ($3.94-billion), including debt.

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Europcar said on Wednesday it had rejected a takeover bid, without specifying the bidder, saying the 0.44 euro per share price offered was too low.

The car rental business has taken a heavy hit from the coronavirus pandemic given the collapse of the travel market.

Europcar’s shares were up 5 per cent on Thursday at 0.4550 euros.

Volkswagen said buying Europcar was one of several options it was considering to give the company access to a rental platform that would support its “long-term mobility vision” and strengthen its range of products and services.

Company sources have suggested that Volkswagen could use Europcar’s network of rental stations to help it become a broader provider of different mobility options.

Bloomberg news agency had already reported that Europcar had rejected a $2.6-billion takeover bid from Volkswagen.

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