Friday, June 5, 1998 Published at 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
BMW out, VW set to get Rolls-Royce
Up for sale: the fate of Britain's famous luxury car maker is set to be decided
The future of Britain's most prestigious motoring company, Rolls-Royce, is currently being decided during a meeting of shareholders of Vickers, the parent company of Rolls-Royce motors.
The shareholders have already rejected a rival bid by the Bavarian car company BMW, which had offered to pay £340m.
A question-mark hangs over a wildcard entry from a group of Rolls fans calling themselves Crewe Motors, after the town in which the cars are made.
Five minutes before the shareholders meeting opened the group managed to secure enough pledges to finance its bid, and a vote on the future of Rolls-Royce was delayed while the Vickers board was considering the Crewe Motors offer.
However, minutes before the vote started, the Vickers board formally rejected the Rolls fans's bid.
A long and winding road
The battle for ownership of Rolls-Royce has taken many twists and turns, with Vickers initially backing the bid from BMW, which already makes engines for the company.
VW's hand was strengthened on Thursday with news that its Audi subsidiary had agreed to buy Vickers' Cosworth engines unit for £120m. The deal is conditional on the Rolls sale being sealed.
"This is excellent news for all concerned and underlines the case for our shareholders approving the sale of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars to Volkswagen," said Vickers chairman Sir Colin Chandler.
But VW Chief Executive Ferdinand Piech refused to see the sale as a done deal.