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Sat, Aug 04, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Ford to sell off its overseas brands


Unsold cars sit in a row under the company sign at a Ford dealership in southeast Denver, Colorado, on July 29.


The Ford Motor Co, which sold its Aston Martin sports car brand in March, would like to be rid of its Land Rover and Jaguar operations by the end of the summer, and Volvo by the time winter arrives.

Financial and legal advisers to Ford have begun preparing the information that bidders want to see before making opening offers for Land Rover and Jaguar, people with direct knowledge of the process said on Thursday.

Ford is aiming to have a tentative deal to sell the two British brands by Sept. 30, these people said. It is hoping for another deal to sell Volvo by the end of the year, they added.

A Ford spokesman, Tom Hoyt, declined to comment.

"We're not talking about any of the speculation that is out there," Hoyt said.

Ford said last week that it was talking to "selected parties" about Land Rover and Jaguar and that it had begun a "strategic review" of Volvo -- its first public acknowledgment that it wanted to shed the Swedish carmaker, which it bought in 1999. It bought Jaguar in 1990 and Land Rover in 2000.

Cerberus Capital Management, which is about to close its purchase of the Chrysler Group from DaimlerChrysler, has acknowledged it may be among those taking a look at Land Rover and Jaguar. Other possible bidders include TPG, run by the investor David Bonderman, according to people with knowledge of the firm's interest. European and Indian press reports say Tata also may be interested.

By contrast, the Volvo sale process is only in its early stages. No firm has emerged yet as a clear leader for Volvo, although media reports have suggested BMW might be interested.

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