After Cendant Corp.’s infamous April 1998 admission of accounting improprieties that would reduce operating income by $110 to 115 million, CEO Henry Silverman was able to stabilize the company. But long after the accounting mess was cleaned up, he was unable to convince investors that keeping his company together made sense. Like so many conglomerates, Cendant fell out of favor with Wall Street and began selling off assets. Two years ago, under Silverman’s leadership, the company’s board approved a plan that would split the company up. Today, all that remains of the merger that created Cendant is a legacy of litigation.

The unit that caused Cendant’s troubles, Walter Forbes’s CUC International Inc., was one of the first to go. In 2005 Cendant sold its marketing services division — which made up most of the old CUC — to Apollo Management for about $1.83 billion. Then, last July, as Cendant took the more dramatic step of splitting into four separate companies, it spun off its real estate franchise business, Realogy Corp. (Realogy, which is the only piece of the old Cendant that is now headed by Silverman, subsequently announced that it was also being bought by Apollo.) The Cendant board also spun off the company’s hotel chains division, Wyndham Worldwide Corp., in July 2006; and, a month later, sold its Internet travel unit, Travelport, to The Blackstone Group for $4.3 billion. That left only the rental car business under the Cendant name, but on Aug. 31, shareholders dropped “Cendant,” renaming the rental car company Avis Budget Group Inc. Cendant shareholders received shares in three of the companies that acquired Cendant assets: one share of Avis for every 10 Cendant shares; one share of Wyndham for every five of Cendant; and one Realogy share for every four Cendant shares.

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