London, Oct 29 Less than a year after it acquired the Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus for $13 billion, India's Tata group has set its sight on another pair of iconic British brands -- Land Rover and Jaguar.
The Tata group, headed by Ratan Tata, is set for a battle royal with One Equity, the private-equity arm of American bank JP Morgan, over Jaguar and Land Rover, the two British marques that have been put up for sale by Ford.
Second-round bids for the famous brands are due tomorrow and sources said the field, currently comprising six contenders, is likely to be narrowed to two.
The Tata group, headed by Ratan Tata, is expected to lead the race, but will face stiff competition from One Equity, the private-equity arm of American bank JP Morgan, according to the Sunday Times.
The One Equity bid is being led by Jac Nasser, the former chief executive of Ford.
All interested parties have toured the two companies' plants and seen the new Jaguar XF, a model that will go on sale in March and is regarded as crucial to the marque's future.
According to the report, the sale has been complicated by delays in striking future supply agreements with Ford, which provides engines to both marques, and by uncertainty over European Commission plans for a limit on CO2 emissions.
The mooted limits would make life difficult for the companies' new owner, as Jaguar and Land Rover models tend to have high carbon-dioxide emissions.
The sale of Jaguar and Land Rover is part of a radical reshaping of Ford, which is struggling to return to profitability in the face of crippling healthcare and pension costs and competition from foreign carmakers.
Earlier this year it sold Aston Martin and it is expected to sell Volvo, the Swedish car group. PTI