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Ex Ford bosses eye Land Rover

2007-08-12 10:24

Dee-Ann Durbin

Detroit - Another former Ford executive has joined in the biddingfor Ford's Jaguar and Land Rover brands, a person familiar with the negotiations said.

Sir Nick Scheele has joined New York-based Ripplewood Holdings LLC in its bid for the brands that cash-strapped Ford is trying to sell, according to the person, who requested anonymity because the bidding is ongoing.

Scheele served as Ford's president and chief operating officer from 2001 until his retirement in 2005. He also led Jaguar from 1992 to 1999.

Scheele's involvement pits him against Jacques Nasser, who was Ford's chief executive from 1999 to 2001. Nasser is leading a separate bid by One Equity Partners LLC, which manages private equity investments for JPMorgan Chase & Co., according to the person familiar with the negotiations.

Jaguar spokesperson Jonathan Griffiths said he couldn't comment on Friday.

Ford bought Jaguar in 1989 and Land Rover in 2000, joining them with Aston Martin and Volvo to form its Premier Automotive Group. But the carmaker lost $12.7bn in 2006 and has said it expects to burn up $17bn in cash before returning to profitability sometime in 2009.

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

The company has taken opening bids for Jaguar and Land Rover and Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally said in late July that the probability of selling the brands is greater than 50%.

Ford also has begun a strategic review of Volvo, which would be the prelude to a sale.

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