DETROIT (AP) _ Another former Ford Motor Co. executive has joined
the bidding for Ford's Jaguar and Land Rover brands, a person
familiar with the negotiations said Friday.
Sir Nick Scheele has joined New York-based Ripplewood Holdings
LLC in its bid for the luxury 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
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, according to the person
familiar with the negotiations. One Equity manages private equity
investments for JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Jaguar spokesman Jonathan Griffiths said he couldn't comment
Friday. A message left with a spokesman for Ripplewood Holdings was
not immediately returned.
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 automaker lost $12.7 billion in 2006 and has said it expects
to burn $17 billion in cash before returning to profitability
sometime in 2009.
Earlier this week, Ford completed the sale of its controlling
stake in Aston Martin for $931 million in cash and preferred stock
to Primrose Cove Ltd., a holding company.
Ford 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 per cent. Ford
also has begun a strategic review of Volvo, which would be the
prelude to a sale.