* Geely, Ford representatives meeting in London
* Intellectual property concerns a major stumbling block
* Volvo 'no comment' on sale process
* Geely Auto shares end down 2.8 pct; Hang Seng off 0.3
(Adds Volvo, background)
By Don Durfee
HONG KONG, Oct 21 Geely Holding's attempt to
buy Ford Motor Co's (F.N) Volvo car unit is in danger of
stalling over disagreements about intellectual property rights,
a source close to the talks said on Wednesday.
Representatives from Ford and Geely, parent of Hong
Kong-listed car maker Geely Automotive (0175.HK), have been
discussing a sale, for around $2 billion, since early this
The latest talks, being held in London, are focused on the
U.S. car maker's concerns about sharing its proprietary
technology and plans for new products, said the source in
response to a Reuters query about an earlier Bloomberg report.
An impasse on that issue could scupper the negotiations.
Ford said talks were ongoing with interested parties
regarding the sale of Volvo. "We have been consistently stating
that this process will take some time to unfold, and that is
still the case," a spokesman said.
Volvo Cars spokeswoman Maria Bohlin said: "Our response is,
like always, that we cannot comment on the sales process."
Geely said last month it was considering a bid for Volvo
along with a local government-backed investment firm.
It also said a Goldman Sachs (GS.N) affiliate was investing
$334 million in Geely Auto via convertible bonds and warrants,
a move widely seen as boosting Geely's growth ambitions.
Buying Volvo would give Geely, China's tenth-biggest autos
manufacturer, access to the technology it needs to upgrade its
cars. But for Ford, that could be a reason to hold back from a
Last week, a former Ford engineer, Xiang Dong Yu, was
arrested and charged in the United States with stealing trade
secrets from Ford and using them to try to get work with
Chinese auto makers. [ID:nN20448754]
"I'm not at all surprised that intellectual property rights
would be a roadblock in the Volvo sale as IPR has always been
an issue in China," said Boni Sa, analyst at CSM Worldwide, a
global industry consultancy.
(Additional reporting by Fang Yan in SHANGHAI; Editing by
Chris Lewis and Valerie Lee)