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Jaguar/Land Rover sale 'deadline set for July 2007'

Mon, 09 Jul 2007 00:00:00 -0700

By Jamie Butler

Motor Industry

09 July 2007 11:28

Potential buyers circling Jaguar and Land Rover have until 19 July to table a bid, it was revealed at the weekend.

Ford is preparing to sell both luxury car makers together, although it may consider bids to buy them separately. It is thought that the most likely buyers are private equity investors, as several car manufacturers have already publicly declined the offer to buy the historic brands.

Cerberus Capital Management, which snapped up Chrysler after DaimlerChrysler's fire sale in May, is thought to be a leading bidder, alongside Ripplewood Holdings and One Equity Partners. The latter lists a notable ex-Ford employee among its staff: Jac Nasser, former chief exec at the Blue Oval and the architect of the rapidly crumbling Premier Automotive Group.

Despite the 19 July deadline, don't expect a quick sale. Sources quoted by London's Financial Times claimed that the actual sale process would take considerably longer, as Ford has yet to finalise the portfolio's documentation.

News of the latest developments comes as Land Rover announced its first-half sales in 2007 had hit record highs. Global sales are up by 8 percent on last year, buoyed by strong sales of the Freelander 2 and growth in new markets such as Russia and China.

Managing director Phil Popham said: 'This year we shall sell around 40,000 cars in countries where we didn’t even have a presence in five years ago. Land Rover is firmly in the black and is on target for a third successive record sales year.'

By Jamie Butler