By Baron Phillips
Aston Martin, which is leading a consortium bidding for British Leyland’s MG operation, has itself been the subject of takeover talks. But Mr Alan Curtis, the chairman, who owns a 42 per cent stake in Aston Martin, said that the approach from two German businessmen was a non-starter.
“It is very flattering,” Mr Curtis said last night, “but there is absolutely no chance of its getting any further. We did not even discuss a price. I am far more interested in our attempts to take over the MG factory.”
Mr Curtis yesterday led a consortium which finally made a firm cash bid for BL’s MG sports car operations. News that the offer has reached Mr Harold Musgrove, managing director of Austin Morris, came after reports that BL had imposed several deadlines, now all passed, for the receipt of a firm bid. No figure has been disclosed but it is believed the consortium is offering about £30m for the MG operation, for which it wants to acquire the whole of MG including its name.
That is likely to be one of the major sticking points in any negotiations because BL has consistently said it will not sell the marque. Mr Curtis said yesterday that he had no idea how long BL would deliberate “but both they and the consortium are aware of the necessity to conclude the matter as soon as possible “.
BL must make a quick decision because the MG factory at Abingdon, Berkshire, is earmarked to play a part in production of the Honda-BL car planned for next year. A decision has been delayed since the first suggestion three months ago that the consortium was interested in maintaining production of an MG sports car.