Alchemy Partners is hoping negotiations with BMW over the Rover Group could be finalized as early as the end of this week. But BMW officials say they don't believe the talks will wrap up until sometime in May.
While it negotiates with Alchemy over the disposal of Rover, BMW has also been under pressure to consider a rival offer for Rover from a consortium headed by former Rover chief executive John Towers. The Towers plan promises to preserve volume manufacturing at Rover.
BMW representatives met with John Towers, former head of Rover Group, last Thursday. But the talks were only for clarification of the offer and business plan for Rover Cars presented by Towers' consortium.
'We would not begin negotiation with John Towers until our negotiations with Alchemy are complete,' said a BMW spokesman. Discussions with Alchemy, the London-based venture capital group, could take up to three weeks to complete, said BMW.
Towers first delivered his bid to Rover Chairman Werner Sämann on April 14 in Birmingham. BMW said both parties have agreed not to reveal the details of these negotiations.
BMW officials say their plans to transfer Rover to Alchemy have not changed.
BMW said it would retain 2,000 of the 8,500 Rover workers employed at Longbridge plant after selling off the business. Those workers will probably be employed at BMW's Longbridge-based Midland Powertrain Ltd. subsidiary which manufacturers gear boxes and engines.
Alchemy meanwhile has released some details on how it plans to revitalize the MG brand, proposing collaboration with Lotus Cars and the roll out of a new sports car in 2002.
Other highlights include:
New MGF variants
Re-entry of MG into the US market
Racing in the LeMans 24-hour race.
Alchemy said 'it has approached Lotus Engineering...with a view to develop a new MG sports car,' but would not elaborate on the status of those discussions. According to the brief plan released, the new sports car would use aluminum/composite technology and be ready in two years.
Alchemy was similarly vague on how it would return to the US, saying only that 'urgent action to re-enter this market' would be taken after the acquisition.
Alchemy said it has made 'no firm decisions' on the future of the Rover Cars factory in Longbridge, UK.
Reuters News Service contributed to this report