Rolls-Royce owner Vickers issued a brief statement. It said: 'Vickers confirms that it is in a period of exclusive negotiations with BMW, following its agreement in principle with BMW to acquire Rolls-Royce Motor Cars for a consideration of £340 million in cash, as announced on March 30. This period of exclusivity expires at the end of April 1998. Vickers is therefore not currently in negotiations with any other parties. Vickers will continue to conduct the sale process in the best interests of its shareholders.'
Volkswagen is likely to appeal directly to Rolls-Royce shareholders to back its bid for the company.