Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Monday, 2 February 2009

Family members bid for Wedgwood

A Royal Doulton figurine produced for the Waterford Wedgwood group
Tom R Wedgwood and Tom D Wedgwood are in talks with investors

Two members of the Wedgwood family have said that they are in discussions with potential investors about retaking control of the Wedgwood pottery firm.

Tom R Wedgwood and Tom D Wedgwood, eighth generation descendants of founder Josiah Wedgwood, are leading a bid for Waterford Wedgwood.

If successful, they plan to transfer design and production back to the Potteries in Staffordshire.

The iconic company, founded in 1759, went into administration on 5 January.

Tom R Wedgwood, 39, was a director of Wedgwood in Japan until three weeks ago. Tom D Wedgwood, 38, is the son of Dr Alan Wedgwood, who has been a non-executive board member of Waterford Wedgwood for the last 42 years.

They are leading a team of four former directors and other members of the Wedgwood family.

They have confirmed that they are in talks with five interested investors from the Middle East, Asia and the UK.

Other bidders

It has also emerged that the US private equity firm Clarion Capital Partners has tabled a bid for Waterford Wedgwood.

Another US private equity firm KPS Capital Partners has been in advanced talks with the firm's administrators and is thought to be the preferred bidder.

I am passionate about Wedgwood, it epitomises all that is great about British manufacturing
Tom R Wedgwood

Tom D Wedgwood has previously spoken out about the way the china and ceramics company has been run, calling the current situation "tragic".

He has also questioned the decision to move jobs and production from the UK. Its biggest manufacturing centre is in Indonesia, where 1,500 staff are employed.

"I am passionate about Wedgwood, it epitomises all that is great about British manufacturing - skilled craftsman and design and a global brand that represents quality and luxury," he said.

Tom D Wedgwood added: "We understand the problems both at a strategic level and also at an operational level that have been around for the last 15 years."

Waterford Wedgwood employed about 1,900 people in the UK, but almost 600 staff have been made redundant since August.

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