According to industry analysts, some of the issues that could trouble Tata Motors were economic slowdown in European and American markets, funding risks, currency risks etc.
Acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover provides the company with a strategic opportunity to acquire iconic brands with a great heritage and global presence, and increase the company’s business diversity across markets and product segments.- Tata Motors, in April 2008.
“If they run the brands as a British company and invest properly in new product, it will be successful because they are still attractive brands.”- Charles Hughes, Founder, Brand Rules LLC, in 2008.
“Market conditions are now extremely tough, especially in the key US market, and the Tatas will need to invest in a lot of brand building to make and keep JLR profitable.”- Ian Gomes, Global Head, Emerging Markets, KPMG, in 2008.
Acquisition of British Icons
On June 02, 2008, India-based Tata Motors completed the acquisition of the Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) units from the US-based auto manufacturer Ford Motor Company (Ford) for US$ 2.3 billion, on a cash free-debt free basis. JLR was a part of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group (PAG) and were considered to be British icons. Jaguar was involved in the manufacture of high-end luxury cars, while Land Rover manufactured high-end SUVs.
Forming a part of the purchase consideration were JLR’s manufacturing plants, two advanced design centers in the UK, national sales companies spanning across the world, and also licenses of all necessary intellectual property rights. Tata Motors had several major international acquisitions to its credit. It had acquired Tetley, South Korea-based Daewoo’s commercial vehicle unit, and Anglo-Dutch Steel maker Corus. Tata Motors’ long-term strategy included consolidating its position in the domestic Indian market and expanding its international footprint by leveraging on in-house capabilities and products and also through acquisitions and strategic collaborations
Analysts were of the view that the acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover, which had a global presence and a repertoire of well established brands, would help Tata Motors become one of the major players in the global automobile industry.
On acquiring JLR, Rattan Tata, Chairman, Tata Group, said, “We are very pleased at the prospect of Jaguar and Land Rover being a significant part of our automotive business. We have enormous respect for the two brands and will endeavor to preserve and build on their heritage and competitiveness, keeping their identities intact. We aim to support their growth, while holding true to our principles of allowing the management and employees to bring their experience and expertise to bear on the growth of the business.” Ford had bought Jaguar for US$ 2.5 billion in 1989 and Land Rover for US$ 2.7 billion in 2000. However, over the years, the company found that it was failing to derive the desired benefits from these acquisitions.
Ford Motors Company (Ford) is a leading automaker and the third largest multinational corporation in the automobile industry. The company acquired Jaguar from British Leyland Limited in 1989 for US$ 2.5 billion.After Ford acquired Jaguar, adverse economic conditions worldwide in the 1990s led to tough market conditions and a decrease in the demand for luxury cars. The sales of Jaguar in many markets declined, but in some markets like Japan, Germany, and Italy, it still recorded high sales. In March 1999, Ford established the PAG with Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Lincoln. During the year, Volvo was acquired for US$ 6.45 billion, and it also became a part of the PAG.
Ford Sells Jaguar and Land Rover
In September 2006, after Allan Mulally (Mulally) assumed charge as the President and CEO of Ford, he decided to dismantle the PAG. In March 2007, Ford sold the Aston Martin sports car unit for US$ 931 million. In June 2007, Ford announced that it was considering selling JLR.
On March 26, 2008, Tata Motors entered into an agreement with Ford for the purchase of Jaguar and Land Rover. Tata Motors agreed to pay US$ 2.3 billion in cash for a 100% acquisition of the businesses of JLR. As part of the acquisition, Tata Motors did not inherit any of the debt liabilities of JLR – the acquisition was totally debt free.
Tata Motors was interested in acquiring JLR as it would reduce the company’s dependence on the Indian market, which accounted for 90% of its sales. The company was of the view that the acquisition would provide it with the opportunity to spread its business across different geographies and across different customer segments
Morgan Stanley reported that JLR’s acquisition appeared negative for Tata Motors, as it had increased the earnings volatility, given the difficult economic conditions in the key markets of JLR including the US and Europe. Moreover, Tata Motors had to incur a huge capital expenditure as it planned to invest another US$ 1 billion in JLR. This was in addition to the US$ 2.3 billion it had spent on the acquisition. Tata Motors had also incurred huge capital expenditure on the development and launch of the small car Nano and on a joint venture with Fiat to manufacture some of the company’s vehicles in India and Thailand. This, coupled with the downturn in the global automobile industry, was expected to impact the profitability of the company in the near future
The Road Ahead
Tata Motors had formed an integration committee with senior executives from the JLR and Tata Motors, to set milestones and long-term goals for the acquired entities. One of the major problems for Tata Motors could be the slowing down of the European and US automobile markets. It was expected that the company would address this issue by concentrating on countries like Russia, China, India, and the Middle East.