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Playing keep-away from private equity

Stephen Beard Jun 13, 2007
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Playing keep-away from private equity

Stephen Beard Jun 13, 2007
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TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Britain’s biggest labor union is calling on the U.K. government to intervene in the sale of Jaguar and Land Rover. Specifically, it doesn’t want to see the companies in the hands of a private equity firm. That’s a possibility now that Ford has confirmed it’s selling the two British luxury brands. Marketplace European correspondent Stephen Beard has more.


STEPHEN BEARD: Analysts say the most likely buyer of Jaguar and Land Rover will be a private equity firm. They’re the most able to raise the $6 or $7 billion it could require.

But the unions here are currently waging a campaign against private equity. They claim that buyout firms are parasitical, laying off workers to make a quick buck.

Tony Woodley, head of the U.K.’s biggest union, says the British government has got to save Jaguar and Land Rover from that fate. He says any other European government would.

TONY WOODLEY: They would put public money in if needed in order to make sure that these manufacturing champions stay alive and viable in the short term in order to maintain those skills, those jobs.

Nineteen-thousand British jobs are stake, he says, 60,000 if you include suppliers.

But the British government ruled out intervention, saying that any sale would be a matter for Ford.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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