Fleet News

Volkswagen wins battle to buy Rolls-Royce

VOLKSWAGEN has won the fierce battle for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars with a £430 million cash bid. The shareholders of Rolls-Royce parent Vickers voted overwhelmingly to accept VW's offer, which was £90 million more than the rival bid from BMW.

In total, 5.1 million shareholders voted in favour and only 109,000 against, in a deal which will see them enjoy a return of capital of 80p per share, but which means one of the last bastions of the British motor industry passes into foreign hands. The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of July, but Volkswagen would not comment on the deal, bar welcoming the decision of the Vickers' shareholders.

The long running saga for the ownership of the world's most prestigious motoring brand may not be over yet, however, because engineering company Rolls-Royce - which owns the Rolls-Royce name - may take legal action to stop Volkswagen using it without paying a substantial fee.

In addition, BMW has threatened to pull out of its engine, electronics and safety supply deal with Rolls Royce cars, although it will at least honour the 12-month notice period in its contract. Volkswagen has offered assurances to Vickers that it would prefer to source engines for Crewe-based Rolls-Royce from within the UK, and earlier last week Audi AG, a wholly owned subsidiary of VW, agreed in principle to buy engine supplier Cosworth, a division of Vickers, for £120 million provided VW bought Rolls-Royce.

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