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Former MG Rover managers discuss Austin revival

A group of ex-MG Rover managers are in talks to buy the rights to make the former Longbridge company's supercar as part of its plans to revive the famous Austin Healey badge.

GB Sports, run by former Powertrain head Fraser Welford-Winton, is thought to be close to agreeing terms to buy the assets of MG Sport and Racing.

The division, which is also based at Longbridge, was involved in the production of the MG XPower SV, before it crashed with debts of £48 million along with the rest of Rover in April.

GB Sports has been in talks with MG Rover's administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers for several months. Yesterday PwC said it was it was hopeful of a conclusion to the negotiations early in the New Year.

Rob Hunt, joint administrator of MG Rover and partner at PwC, said: "We have been having conversations for quite some time. This has been going on for many months.

"Offers have been made, but there is still a bit to go on it.

"The offers relate to some cars at the site, the ability to make the cars, a separate part of the Longbridge site.

"We are hopeful of something being sorted out in the New Year."

Hunt would not be drawn on sums being offered, but The Birmingham Post reports GB Sports is offering less than £5 million for the company which collapsed with assets of £5.8 million.

But doubts remain whether GB Sports can even generate the funds to buy Sport and Racing from the administrators, in addition to the money needed to relaunch the company.

One industry expert said: "I have heard GB Sports is struggling to get the money together to make cars.

"There have been three versions of this car, and none have them have been successful, so you have to wonder if they can make it a success this time."

GB Sports and Rover's new owner Nanjing signed a memorandum of understanding three weeks ago which set out the terms for the licensing the Austin Healey brand from the Chinese.

The licence agreement is part of the wider joint venture plan, which is still under discussion. GB Sports did not return calls last night.

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