Fleet News

Ford deal is tipped as takeover talk mounts

BRITAIN'S roadside vehicle recovery business looks certain to face a massive shake-up in the coming months as speculation continues to mount that the Automobile Association, RAC Motoring Services and Green Flag - the three biggest providers - could all be taken over.

And industry sources this week seemed convinced that Ford would ultimately complete the acquisition of one of the three businesses as it continues to embark on its bid to provide 'a cradle to grave' service for all its customers.

Two weeks ago, Ford announced an agreed £1billion bid for Kwik-Fit. The RAC is known to be considering five bids for its motoring services arm with Ford, Lex Service, Centrica and venture capital companies PPM Venture and BC Partners believed to be in the frontline. Ford already has significant business arrangements with both the AA and RAC.

All new Ford cars have one-year roadside recovery from the RAC, while the AA Driving School last year completed a switch to Fiesta Ghia Xs in the first phase of a four-year 10,000-car deal worth £110million. Meanwhile the AA is also at the centre of take-over speculation which sees its value estimated at £1.5billion.

While refusing to comment on the speculation, the organisation says it has always kept an open mind about its structure. And it admits that amid the speculation surrounding both RAC Motoring Services and Green Flag, it was understandable that its future would also come under the spotlight. Meanwhile speculation mounts that Green Flag, which is owned by the American-based Cendant Corporation, is up for sale. Cendant Europe managing director Scott Forbes told FNN: 'We don't comment on market speculation.'

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