AM Online

Six bidders consider Jaguar/Land Rover

Ford Motor Company began presenting the Jaguar/Land Rover business to six interested investors this week as it looks to secure a buyer for the two brands by the end of September.

Four venture capitalists – Texas Pacific Group, Ripplewood Holdings, One Equity Partners (fronted by ex Ford boss Jacques Nasser) and Chrysler owner Cerberus – and two Indian manufacturers, Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata, are hearing from Ford’s advisers about how they believe the two brands have a solid future and how Ford will continue offering full support for powertrain and purchasing.

Ford, which is likely to retain a small stake, is fearful of facing a BMW-Rover type backlash over its decision to sell. It is putting measures in place to ensure their medium term survival.

One source told AM: “They are paranoid about any negative publicity over the Jaguar/Land Rover deal so all sorts of terms are involved, such as not closing plants for at least five years.”

The carmaker has moved some senior staff across to Land Rover, such as Ford of Europe chief designer Paul Simmons, which observers claim is intended to make the business more attractive to investors.

The announcement last week that Jaguar Cars managing director Bibiana Boerio is to retire from the business came as a surprise to UK retailers. However, it has been seen as a further attempt by Ford to restructure the management team ready for the disposal.

Boerio is replaced by Mike O’Driscoll, previously president of Jaguar/Land Rover North America. She will stay in an advisory role until the XF reveal at Frankfurt show.

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