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Ford hires banks to explore options: sources
LONDON (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co. (F.N) has hired investment banks to help it explore options including a sale of its Jaguar and Land Rover European luxury brands, sources familiar with the matter said, as several companies ruled themselves out from bidding.
Investment banks including Goldman Sachs (GS.N), HSBC Holding Plc (HSBA.L) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) are helping Ford to explore the sale of the two brands, the sources said on Monday.
Ford, Goldman, HSBC and Morgan Stanley all declined to comment on the situation.
The review of options follows the sales of several car businesses to private equity as carmakers reshuffle their portfolios as they come under financial pressure and reorganize operations.
Cerberus last month agreed to buy Chrysler from Germany's Daimler DCXGn.DE, and a group fronted by former Formula 1 executive David Richards bought Aston Martin from Ford in March.
A report in London's City AM newspaper on Monday said Alchemy was preparing a 3 billion pound ($5.9 billion) bid for Ford's luxury UK brands and quoted Alchemy managing partner Jon Moulton as saying he was very interested in a bid.
An Alchemy spokeswoman said on behalf of Moulton, however, that the firm had not held any talks, "is not working on it" and is interested in them "only at an emotional level".
As well as Alchemy, French carmaker Renault (RENA.PA) denied it was a possible bidder for Jaguar and Land Rover, after City AM named it among possible bidders for the units.
When asked by reporters on Monday whether talks on Fiat (FIA.MI) buying Ford's Jaguar and Land Rover units were taking place, Fiat Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo said "No".
Asked whether Jaguar and Land Rover "could be taken home", he said: "For now, we are bringing home the new 500 and lots of new Alfa and Lancia models."
Any sale of Ford's European luxury brands is unlikely to include Volvo, after Ford said last week it is not in discussions aimed at the sale of the Swedish unit.
(Additional reporting by Marie Maitre in Paris and Marie-Louise Gumuchian in MIlan)
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