NEW YORK (CNNfn) -- Republic Industries Inc. is shaking up the auto rental industry again, signing a definitive merger agreement to buy National Car Rental in a $600 million stock swap.
Republic's move comes just two months after acquiring Alamo Rent-A-Car. The combined Alamo-National fleet will approach Hertz Corp.'s group of 250,000 vehicles.
Alamo and Nation reportedly will keep their brand names separate while combining management operations.
The deal joins Alamo's strength in renting to vacationers and National's prominence among business travelers, Republic chairman Wayne Huizenga said in a statement.
The transaction includes the assumption of $1.7 billion of vehicle debt and is expected to close in the first quarter, according to the statement.
Republic is buying National from Santa Anna Holdings Inc., an investor group led by William Lobeck, the former chief executive of Thrifty Car Rental.
Republic Chairman H. Wayne Huizenga's acquisition strategy has snared two of the top five companies in a $14 billion industry that has been struggling for years.
As the third buyout of a car-rental firm in four months, the deal follows HFS Inc.'s acquisition of Avis. Inc. for $800 million.
Ford Motor Co.'s Budget Rent A Car Corp., which Huizenga previously expressed interest in, has been up for sale since December.
Huizenga has already started a chain of used-car superstores, called AutoNation USA, with plans to supply them with cars from his car-rental companies.