Stock Option Trading News

Ford (F) Decision on Jaguar and Land Rover almost Final

As part of the strategic intent of Ford (F) to refocus on its core brands, Ford had already put Jaguar and Land Rover on the selling block in June this year. In March, Ford had sold control of Aston Martin, the sports car marquee, to a Kuwait led consortium for $931 million in cash and preferred stock.

Over the last week, the news was out that Indian conglomerate Tata would be the preferred bidder for its Jaguar and Land Rover units – Britain’s most famous car firms. India’s Mahindra & Mahindra and American buyout group One Equity were the other two bidders in the fray. The final announcement is likely to be made only in the first week of next year

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Ford, which earned $88 million in the first nine months of 2007, decided to sell Jaguar and Land Rover as part of a restructuring measure. Sources close to negotiations said that Tata might pay about £1 billion (US$2 billion), although the exact amount is not known. Ford bought Jaguar for $2.5 billion in 1989 and Land Rover for $2.7 billion in 2000.

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It isn’t clear how much Tata or the other bidders would be willing to pay for the brands, but the market news is of about $2 billion. Merrill Lynch & Co. estimated this year the combined sale of the Jaguar and Land Rover brands would raise $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion. Ford acquired Jaguar for $2.5 billion in 1989 and Land Rover for $2.75 billion in 2000. The company has put them up for sale as it seeks to refocus on its Ford brand and its North American business. Ford posted losses of $12.6 billion last year.

Ford decided to put the luxury brands up for sale this year as part of new Chief Executive Alan Mulally’s strategy to refocus the automaker on its core brands. Jaguar has especially struggled, with U.S. sales down 26% through November. The sale would give Ford with ammunition for consolidation in the US market for its core brands.

Ford faces a steep market downturn next year in which industry-wide auto sales are forecasted to drop below 16 million cars and trucks for the first time in a decade. Ford also will likely have to spend billions, along with its competitors, to recalibrate its product mix to meet new stringent fuel-economy regulations.

Tata Motors Ltd., the Tata Group unit, received an endorsement last month from the United Kingdom trade union that represents workers at Jaguar and Land Rover. A deal would give Tata Motors, a maker of small, inexpensive cars mainly for the Indian market, international presence. It would add another dimension to Tata Group, with interests ranging from steel to software. Its 96 companies employ about 200,000 people and have annual sales of more than $20 billion.

Covered Calls:
Prudent investors are always looking for stock market tips, and the following covered call investing positions were found for Ford using PowerOptions search tool.

PowerOptions covered call search
Option Strike
F 6.79 (+0.03) FCI 08 MAR 6.0 (93) 1.1 16.2 5.4 5.4
F 6.79 (+0.03) FCJ 08 MAR 7.0 (93) 0.5 7.4 7.9 11.3
(For more details click the ticker symbol above)

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[tags] Jaguar, Land Rover, Tata, Mahindra & Mahindra, One Equity, F, Ford Motor Co., covered call investing, covered call investment strategy, investment strategy, iron condor, poweroptions, stock market tips, stock option trading, stock options [/tags]

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