BMW bidding for Cosworth?

THERE are rumors in F1 business circles that BMW may be bidding to buy Cosworth Engineering from its current parent company Vickers PLC. Vickers has been struggling in recent years because its major business - the defense industry - is in decline. There have also been problems with Rolls Royce, which is another part of the Vickers empire. The Vickers shareholders need to be kept happy. Cosworth is a major asset but is not producing vast revenues and it may be that the Vickers management might consider a sale to raise capital to invest in more profitable new businesses.

Cosworth was bought by Vickers for $250m in March 1990 from Carlton Communications - although the price tag today would certainly be higher as Carlton, which was moving into television at the time, was keen to get rid of an engine company which did not fit in with its other divisions. Ford sources at Hockenheim tried to play down the stories, saying the story was out of date, but there is little doubt that the German car company is interested in getting hold of Cosworth, to help its rebuilding of the Rover Group and to provide a good facility from which to produce F1 engines for its planned program in the year 2000. Cosworth has some of the most advanced engine-building machinery available in Britain and has a world-leading foundry. Cosworth, of course, designs and builds all Ford's F1 engines and a BMW takeover would mean that Ford would have to look elsewhere for its F1 power units. There is no doubt that this was looked at last winter when Ford examined the possibility of setting up its own F1 engine-building facility.

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