Ford: No Jag Sale Imminent

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) – Ford Motor Co. will not make an announcement about the sale of its Jaguar and Land Rover units until late this year or perhaps early in 2008, the head of the company's European operations said Wednesday night.

“It's a very orderly process,” said Lewis Booth, executive vice president of Ford's European units, adding that Ford is in the middle of its strategic review of Volvo for potential sale.

Speaking to reporters in a round-table with the rest of Ford's top managers, Booth said he couldn't go into more detail about the possible sales.

Earlier this month, former Ford President Nick Scheele joined with New York-based Ripplewood Holdings LLC in its bid for Jaguar and Land Rover.

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.

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 $12.6 billion in 2006 and has said it expects to burn up $15 billion to $16 billion in cash before returning to profitability sometime in 2009.

Earlier this month, Ford said it completed the sale of its controlling stake in Aston Martin for $931 million 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 percent.