20070131 tatasteel 73159519 18
India's Tata Steel - 

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: An Indian company looks likely to acquire two of the world's most famous car brands, Jaguar and Land Rover. Indian conglomerate Tata has emerged as the frontrunner to buy the two companies from Ford. From London, Stephen Beard reports.


Stephen Beard: Six weeks ago it seemed a certainty: A private equity firm was thought sure to buy Jaguar and Land Rover.

But the collapse in the credit markets may have put paid to that. Private equity may struggle to raise the cash.

Now analysts say the Indian steel and auto conglomerate Tata looks the likeliest buyer. The boss, Ratan Tata, says he's interested.

David Bailey of Birmingham University says Jaguar and Land Rover would fit readily into Tata's plans.

David Bailey: They're looking at these two quality luxury brands in terms of going global and entering the European market. Now they've got deep pockets and I think they can develop cars, which costs a lot of money, so I think overall this really makes good sense for them.

The purchase would be a further sign of India's extraordinary role reversal. The former British colony is now buying more companies in Britain than British companies are buying in India.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.