Ford Motor Co. could formally announce the sale of British auto makers Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Motors Ltd. by the middle of next week, according to people briefed on negotiations.
An initial sale agreement could come as soon as 26 March, according to two people familiar with the talks. Neither wanted to be identified because the negotiations are private. One of the people said many of the details had been worked out, and he expected side agreements with Ford supplying engines and other technologies for Jaguar and Land Rover.
British union officials have said Tata has assured them employment levels will be held around the current 15,300, and Jaguar will not be resold.
Ford spokesman John Gardiner would only say on Tuesday that the companyexpects to announce a deal early this year.
A Tata spokesman contacted by Mint said discussions are going on and there are no issues.
Ford named Tata as the preferred bidder for the British auto makers in January, essentially dismissing two other bids.
Neither side has discussed a purchase price, but people briefed on the talks have said initial bids ranged from $1.5 billion (Rs6,075 crore) to $2 billion. Cash-hungry Ford, which lost $12.6 billion in 2006 and $2.7 billion last year, has been looking to sell Jaguar and Land Rover for months.
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 are strained by unfavourable 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. AP
Mint’s Ammar Master in Mumbai contributed to this story.