BMW Spices Up Car Renting With ING Fleet Buy

Car renting just got another dose of luxury.

Premium auto maker BMW announced Friday that it is buying a car leasing unit ING (NYSE:ING) for $912 million.

The Dutch bank, which acquired the car leaser in 1977, said it is divesting the unit to better strengthen focus on its bank and streamline operations.

ING, which has been revamping its business since being bailed out by the Dutch government during the latest recession, plans on separating its banking and insurance arms by the end of 2012. Its other leasing and factoring businesses, including ING Lease and ING Commercial Finance, are not affected by the sale.

The car lease business is one of Europes top fleet managers with 240,000 vehicles and 10 locations across eight countries. The company had about 1,200 employees as of December 31 and carried revenues of 3.5 billion euros.

BMW, which makes luxury cars and motorcycles, is already active in fleet management services through its Alphabet group, which is based in Munich, Germany.

With about 700 workers, Alphabet offers consulting, financing and car services to more than 12,000 customers in 14 countries.

The deal is slated to close in the fourth quarter, subject to regulatory approvals.