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5.29.20   4:40 PM Markets - Earnings

Hertz data shows the pain of filing Chapter 11

Alternative data tracks Hertz's struggle against a pandemic, and its debt, leading to a Chapter 11 filing.

Hertz ($HTZ) has ground to halt on public markets, filing Chapter 11 and struggling to reorganize under an enormous debt load amid a global pandemic. A look at the car rental company's alternative data depicts the pain of a slowdown, and the road to bankruptcy. 

Hertz's Apple Store Ratings Count began to level off in mid-March, as various US states enacted shelter-in-place policies aimed at controlling the spread of Coronavirus. But, that's not the only problem Hertz's digital products have faced. 

Last year, Hertz sued the consultant it blamed for the botched digital redesign, but that's not what did the company in - that, can more likely be chalked up to bad deals it struck with investors' partners as it struggled to preserve its life on public markets over the last few years. 

Earlier this year we saw a tremendous rise in Facebook chatter - depicted in our graph above - for Hertz, around the time of year its new Super Bowl advertisements came out featuring NFL Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis. Lately, however, that's leveled off to virtually nothing, as the global pandemic shutdown put a crimp on people's social chatter - no different than the app chart that we led off with. There has been a slight rebound, but the same way that airlines are seeing crimped social engagement and customers, it's likely this issue will persist for rental cars as well.

Last month, we saw Hertz slashing job postings and reducing the number of people that marked it as their 'current' employer on LinkedIn - and, that's also likely to continue as it goes through an ownership transition. 

Finally, we'll wrap up with a look at Hertz locations - although, as it goes through the bankruptcy and reorganization process, it's likely that some of these locations could be shut down, or have leases sold off, to reduce its operational cost burdens. 

Also, as the company sells off some of its used car fleets, it could turn into a map for bargain hunters looking to pick up potentially discounted autos. Because our map tracks Hertz's car sales lots, as well as its rental businesses, users can look at which business Hertz operates, by segment, using the key at top-right. 

The road to bankruptcy for Hertz was made more slippery in the pandemic - but one of the things the company can count as a relief going forward is that corporate raider Carl Icahn is no longer as big a part of its capital structure, having cashed out his holdings on Hertz at a loss. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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