Tata picked as top Jaguar bidder

( AP )- An Indian car maker that will unveil the world's cheapest car next week may soon produce two of the world's premier brands as well.

Ford Motor Co. named Tata Motors Ltd. the top bidder for its Jaguar and Land Rover brands Thursday and entered into "focused negotiations at a more detailed level," meaning Tata was named preferred bidder for the storied British automakers.

"While no final decision has been made, we will proceed with further substantive discussions with Tata Motors over the forthcoming weeks," Lewis Booth, executive vice president of Ford's European units, said in a statement.

Jaguar and Land Rover employees in the United Kingdom were told about the negotiations Thursday morning shortly before the company made the announcement.

Ford executives have said they expect to sell the two British automakers early this year.

Ford spokesman Jay Ward in London would not say how much Tata bid for the automakers, nor would he say if two other bidders, Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. and U.S. private equity firm One Equity Partners LLC, still were in the running. Last month people close to the negotiations with Ford told the AP that potential suitors had submitted bids for both companies that ranged from $1.5 billion to $2 billion.

A person briefed on the negotiations said Thursday that Mahindra and One Equity still were under consideration, although Tata is the likely buyer.

"Ford hasn't told them to go away, and that's the end of it," the person told The Associated Press. " Tata's emerged as the preferred partner."

The person requested anonymity because the talks are confidential.

Mumbai-based Tata Motors confirmed the negotiations Thursday.

"We are now entering a period of more focused and detailed negotiations with Ford. We hope both parties can reach an agreement in the forthcoming weeks, though these are complex discussions and there is still much work that needs to be done before that position is reached," a company statement said. "We are pleased by the progress in the discussions to date and very positive about the prospects of this business going forward."

Tata plans to unveil its ultracheap $2,500 car next week at an auto show in New Delhi.

Company Chairman Ratan Tata said in a recent interview that acquiring Jaguar and Land Rover would help bring global visibility to his group - a sprawling conglomerate that makes everything from automobiles to steel and software, and a name that until recently was little-known outside India.

Tata Steel made headlines in January when it acquired Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus Group PLC for $12.1 billion by outbidding rivals. The deal, India's biggest foreign acquisition, put Tata at the forefront of India's global reach.

While the Corus acquisition was widely seen as a good match - and appears to be paying off - many fail to see comparable synergies in Tata's attempted takeover of Jaguar and Land Rover.

Tata long has been a giant in truck and bus manufacturing, but it has sold cars for only about a decade. It currently has about a 17 percent share of India's market.

Tony Woodley, general secretary of Unite, Jaguar and Land Rover's main labor union, said much still needs to be negotiated with Tata .

"We need further and more detailed meetings and discussions with Ford and Tata which will focus on the job security of our members in the Jaguar, Land Rover and Ford plants in the U.K.," he said in a statement.

Unite has said it would prefer Tata if the company is sold.

Ford is interested in maintaining its parts supply relationship with the new owners of Jaguar and Land Rover. The company builds engines for Jaguar in Europe.

Industry analysts have said Ford wants to find a buyer who would preserve the Jaguar and Land Rover heritage and jobs in the U.K. Ford, which is the top auto seller in the U.K., doesn't want to rankle British customers, they said.

The U.K. government's Business and Enterprise Department in a statement called the Tata announcement a welcome step toward.

"The government's sole concern is to ensure a successful, sustainable future for Jaguar/Land Rover in the U.K. If Tata is ultimately successful in its bid, the government will work as closely with them as it always has with Ford," the statement said.

Cash-hungry Ford, which lost $12.6 billion in 2006 but earned $88 million in the first nine months of 2007, has been looking to sell Jaguar and Land Rover.

It has mortgaged assets to continue operations and expects to burn up $12 billion to $14 billion until 2009, when it plans to return to sustained profitability.

Jaguar and Land Rover strained by unfavorable exchange rates and high production costs in Britain.

Ford bought Jaguar for $2.5 billion in 1989 and Land Rover for $2.7 billion in 2000, joining them with Aston Martin and Volvo to form its Premier Automotive Group.

Mark Warnsman , an analyst with Calyon Securities in New York, said Ford will have to sell the brands at a loss primarily because Jaguar has an uncertain future. While Ford has improved Land Rover, Jaguar has continued to struggle, he said.

"Any buyer of Jaguar is going to be taking on the reputational risk of being able to rebuild that brand," Warnsman said. "There's a huge risk of whether that brand can be revitalized and compete successfully with BMW and Mercedes."

Both Land Rover and Jaguar will require significant investment in the next cycle of new products, he said.

Earlier this year Ford completed the sale of its controlling stake in Aston Martin for $931 million in cash and preferred stock.

Ford has said it plans to keep Volvo for now, fixing its cost structure and making it a more premium brand.

Shares of Ford fell 15 cents, or 2.3 percent, to close at $6.45 Thursday.

Non-oil sector becoming main revenue source for Azerbaijan - expert
Non-oil sector becoming main revenue source for Azerbaijan - expert
Deposits in Azerbaijani banks increase in 1H2021
Deposits in Azerbaijani banks increase in 1H2021
Azerbaijan’s PASHA Bank ends 2Q2021 with profit
Azerbaijan’s PASHA Bank ends 2Q2021 with profit
Loading Bars
Latest
France's new health pass rules to enter into force on Aug. 9
India sends another Oxygen Express to Bangladesh
India To Have Submersibles That Can Carry Scientists To Depth Of 6,000 Metres Into Sea - Minister
Dr Reddy's Says Made-In-India Sputnik V Doses To Be Available From September-October
Indian Astronomers On Team Which Spotted Shortest Gamma-Ray Bursts From Dying Star
Iran, Austria stress judicial, human rights cooperation
Need effective mechanism to address global vaccine inequity - India in UNSC
Harappan city of Dholavira in Kutch among UNESCO’s world heritage sites
Bipartisan group of U.S. senators reportedly agree on infrastructure package
US supports India's emergence as leading global power - State Department
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh begins 3-day visit to Dushanbe to attend SCO meet
Turkey notes substantial growth in car exports to US
Uzbekistan's 1H2021 main exporters revealed
U.S. crude oil inventories decrease last week
Azerbaijani FM talks with US Assistant Secretary of State
Uzbekistan’s Khorezm region accounts for largest share of fish caught
Georgia begins large-scale co-financing program for agricultural mechanization
Turkmenistan, Tajikistan sign protocol of tenth meeting of the intergovernmental commission
Turkey reports 22,291 new COVID-19 cases
Friendship, fruitful partnership between Azerbaijan and Israel - solid foundation for development of relations – Minister
Turkmenistan sees increase in production in agro-industrial sector
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan get acquainted with "Azerbaijan" RoPax-type ferry vessel
WB notes key factor in supporting Azerbaijan's anti-corruption efforts
Kazakhstan leads in Central Asia by attracting funds to develop water and energy complex
Non-oil sector becoming main revenue source for Azerbaijan - expert
Uzbekistan’s 1H2021 crop production down
Georgia sees increase in peaches export
Georgia shares data on fully vaccinated people
Deposits in Azerbaijani banks increase in 1H2021
Azerbaijan’s PASHA Bank ends 2Q2021 with profit
Liabilities of Azerbaijan's PASHA Bank grow as of 2Q2021
Azerbaijan's PASHA Bank sees increase in assets
Central Bank of Azerbaijan puts short-term notes up for auction
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry puts up mid-term state bonds for new auction
Azerbaijan temporarily limits imports of animal products from Libya
Foreign policy of Azerbaijani president is aimed at victory and dev't
Russian president discusses situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border during Security Council meeting
Azerbaijan sees growth in bank deposits in 1H2021
Azerbaijani FM, chair of Pakistani National Assembly discuss regional security issues (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan ready to implement experience of US companies on 'smart technologies' - minister
Azerbaijan announces number of citizens vaccinated on July 28
Daily number of people infected with COVID-19 exceeds 700 in Azerbaijan
Rumors of Turkish Grand National Assembly's statement on creation of joint Turkic army - not true (VIDEO)
Saudi Arabia's oil exports climb 147% to $16 bln in May
ICL reports jump in profit and revenue in Q2
Non-resource and non-energy export gained 30% in H1 2021 — Russian Export Center
Azerbaijan's Chamber of Accounts takes prominent place in WB report
Italian regulator endorses Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for teens
Boeing posts first profit in almost two years helped by 737 MAX deliveries
AZAL to Start Testing IATA Travel Pass Application on the Most Popular Destinations (VIDEO)
Mine clearance underway on suburbs of reservoir in Azerbaijan's liberated Khojaly - Trend TV (PHOTO)
Uzbekneftegaz looks to introduce advanced technology for gas purification
Kazakhstan increases passenger cars manufacturing
Turkmenistan's trade turnover up
Stability of manat, low inflation in Azerbaijan facilitate economic growth - expert
Kazakhstan’s Altynalmas AK pays out dividends for 2Q2021
Azerbaijani defense minister meets with delegation from Oklahoma (PHOTO)
Turkey sees sharp increase in grain exports to Uzbekistan
Bank lending grows in Azerbaijan in 1H2021
Azerbaijan allocates funds for construction of road infrastructure in Kalbajar, Lachin
Economic growth, social welfare - main priorities of Azerbaijan's state budget
BioLight invests in US peripheral vision home test co
UAE's biggest lender FAB posts 19% jump in Q2 net profit
bp announces planned time of commencing drilling of 3rd well for SWAP
bp to work out ESIA for 3rd well at SWAP by end-2021
Russia’s daily COVID-19 cases fall below 23,000 for the first time since June 30
‘Georgian Dream’ ruling party withdraws from EU-brokered agreement
Azerbaijan's SOFAZ unveils 1H2021 revenues from ACG field
Azerbaijan discloses amount of loans accounting for households
Pfizer raises estimates for 2021 sales of COVID-19 vaccine to $33.5 bln
Turkmenbashi Complex of Oil Refineries opens tender on modernization at polypropylene production plant
Kazakhstan offers Moldova’s entrepreneurs to use its int'l trade centers
Kyrgyzstan passes peak of third coronavirus wave
Prosecutor demands imprisonment for Armenian terrorists who tortured Azerbaijanis during first Karabakh war
Baku court sentences Armenians accused of espionage
Kazakhstan needs to become self-sufficient in agricultural products - president
UK significantly increases import of Kazakh-made products
Azerbaijan creates mobile app for checking COVID passports
Reconstruction of highway connecting several settlements under completion in Azerbaijan’s Tartar district (PHOTO)
Iran's Jask oil terminal reduces oil export costs
Oil refinery in Uzbekistan opens tender for raw materials
Georgia reveals COVID-19 data for July 28
Armenian side demonstrates disrespect for peace, coexistence in region – Azerbaijani ombudsman
Azerbaijan has great potential in creation of artificial lighting systems - Signify
Equinor set to boost production as of 2021
Azerbaijani diaspora reps visit Jidir Plain in Shusha (PHOTO)
Kazakhstan’s MunaiTas opens tender for SCADA systems integration
Iran to open first section of Chabahar-Zahedan railway
Indian embassy in Baku inaugurates Indian Gallery within Gobustan National Historical Artistic Preserve (PHOTO)
OGVs carrying basic goods arrive at Iran's Imam Khomeini port
New sewing enterprise established in Georgia’s Adjara
Iran re-opens decommissioned power plants
Iran talks inactivity of its production factories in industrial towns
Kazakhstan's export to Italy down over 5M2021
Azerbaijani currency rates for July 28
Most of Azerbaijan's SOFAZ assets placed in USD
Japan to allocate funds for dev’t of women's entrepreneurship in Uzbekistan
UAE's top banks post strong Q2 net profit amid recovery from pandemic
Gold price in Azerbaijan continues to rise
Russian-US strategic stability consultations begin in Geneva
All news