Outlook: BMW falls behind in race for Rolls

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The Independent Online
THE ROLLS-ROYCE takeover saga shifts a gear to Munich today where Bernd Pischetsrieder, the BMW chairman, will tell his annual shareholders' meeting how he intends to see off the rival bidder Volkswagen. Even though VW's bid is a full pounds 90m higher, BMW mysteriously continues to see its offer as the more attractive one. Unless they have a crank shaft loose, not many shareholders in Vickers, Rolls parent company, are likely to share this believe.

Thus far the Bavarian tactics have consisted of a series of spoiling manoeuvres to block the sale to VW. It is threatening to withdraw its engines if Rolls becomes part of the VW stable. And if that does not work, it is relying upon its pals at the aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce PLC to play hard ball over transferring the Rolls-Royce mark and trade name to VW. Neither gambit looks likely to succeed. VW can find a new source of engines and Rolls-Royce will be hard pushed to argue that one giant German car owner is a less suitable home for the marque than another. Mr Pischetsrieder will have to up the ante if he wants a Roller to adorn the next annual report to shareholders.

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