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Hertz files for bankruptcy protection

The Hertz car rental agency filed for bankruptcy protection late Friday in the first major financial casualty to rock the hard-hit travel and tourism industry.

The century-old rental company, saddled with nearly $19 billion in debt, was unable to reach a deal with creditors.

Its largest shareholder is billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, who holds close to a 39 percent stake.

Hertz, which also operates the Dollar and Thrifty car rental units, saw business dry up over the past two months as travel grounded to a halt and its lucrative business customers worked from home.

Business has been so bad for the industry that some have resorted to parking large amount of unused inventory in empty stadium parking lots.

Unlike airlines, car rental companies have yet to get any of the trillions of dollars in government aid coming out of Washington.

Even before worldwide stay-at-home orders were announced, the car rental business was under pressure due to the rise in popularity of car-sharing and ride-hailing apps like Uber.

Earlier this month, Hertz announced it had to lay-off about 10,000 employees in its roughly 38,000 global workforce.