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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Jewels in the Crown: How Tata of India transformed Britain's Jaguar

The first industrial power, Great Britain was also fast in losing national iconic brands- most were sold out to foreignersROLLS-ROYCE MOTOR CARS, THE MINI,  OXO, MANCHESTER UNITED,KITKAT,THAMES WATER,P&O, were few of them.  And most brands lose value in M&A. In Asia Pacific region, value after acquisition declined by 38%. Chrysler merged with Mitsubishi motors in 2000 with lot of hype and  fell apart four years later.
In this scenario, Tata Motors acquired jewel of the British crown, Jagaur along with Land Rover from Ford paying $2.3 billion. Observers had described Jaguar as a basket case and joked that since most bidders were primarily interested in the potential for Land Rover, the sale proposition by Ford was `Buy one  and get one'. Most cynical of them including UK politicians argued that Tata had simply paid a lot of money for two well known brands and that before long , JLR's equipment and expertise would be shipped off to India, leaving the West Midlands as an automotive wasteland. They reminded of the promise made by the Chinese manufacturer Nanjing Automotive when it acquired the remains of MG Rover and said it would revive mass production at Longbridge. Shareholders in India were equally pessimistic and share price post acqisition dropped by 77% from its previous high. a rights issue intended to fund the purchase was a dumb squib.
Tata pulled along, arranged $3 billion bridge finance piecemeal from 21 different lenders active in Indian market, invested further 800 million pounds in R&D and managed the acquisition in its own Tata style, empowering people. The turn around of Jaguar, given up by giants of U.K & USA, clearly show that the Uncertainty Avoidance Index of Indian mangers was more favourable to manage global firms now .There has been no brand erosion, jobs remained in Britain and Jaguar as an independent entity survived and prospered, all due to the vision of Ratan Tata.

Journalist Ray Hutton chronicles the development in an eminently readable book.

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