July 28, 2007 / 9:57 AM / in 11 years

India's Tata may begin Jaguar due diligence

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India’s Tata Motors Ltd. (TAMO.BO) may start due diligence next week to acquire Ford Motor Co’s (F.N) Jaguar and Land Rover brands, the Hindustan Times reported on Saturday.

The headquarters of Ford Motor Co. is seen in this undated file photo. India's Tata Motors Ltd. <TAMO.BO> may start due diligence next week to acquire Ford Motor Co's <F.N> Jaguar and Land Rover brands, the Hindustan Times reported on Saturday.REUTERS/Handout

“Senior Tata officials are already in London. They will start due diligence from next week,” it quoted a source close to the transaction as saying.

A spokesman for Tata declined comment.

Tata and its local rival Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (MAHM.BO), along with U.S. buyout firms TPG TPG.UL and Ripplewood, were among those that have expressed interest in the marques, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The Hindustan Times said Citigroup (C.N) was believed to be advising Tata, India’s top bus and truck maker, on the deal.

The newspaper said Arun Gandhi, a director in the Tata group who was involved in Tata Steel’s (TISC.BO) acquisition of Corus, was expected to lead the team of negotiators.

Ford said last month it was working with financial advisers on the best options for Jaguar and Land Rover. Sources have said Goldman Sachs (GS.N), HSBC (HSBA.L) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) are the banks on the deal.

Both Tata and Mahindra have declined to comment on the reports that they are in talks with investment banks and private equity firms to craft bids.

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