Steane Klose | Nov 14, 2007

Having decided to keep Volvo (at least for the time being), FoMoCo have announced that they have whittled the auction of the other two remaining PAG brands down to three bidders. The odds are now clearly in favour of the Iconic English brands Jaguar and Rover being purchased by an Indian company, with two of the three bidders being Indian carmakers.

The two Indian manufacturers are Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra both of whom are preparing to make third round offers. It is also known that Mahindra & Mahindra have teamed up with buyout firm Apollo with the intention of splitting the brands between them should their bid be successful. The third bidder is One Equity Partners, a buyout firm funded by U.S. investment bank JP Morgan.

Indian manufacturers are becoming quite aggressive with acquisitions as they seek to expand and diversify out of their home market. It is now expected that the bidders will begin discussions with trade unions and the UK government with the main issue being the conservation of jobs amid speculation some of the bidders may try to move production outside the UK.

Ford says it is nearing a deal that will see it palm off the English luxury nameplates with an agreement expected by early next year at the latest. The two brands are being sold as package deal, Ford will not sell them separately and combined they are valued at $US1.5 billion.

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