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UPDATE 1-Volkswagen considering buying majority stake in Europcar

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BERLIN, June 24 (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 euros ($3.94 billion), including debt.

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% 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.

$1 = 0.8377 euros Reporting by Jan Schwartz and Emma Thomasson Editing by Caroline Copley and David Evans

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