The Phoenix consortium has brought Ludgate Communications on board
to assist with its last ditch attempt to buy the German car giant BMW’s
loss-making UK arm, Rover.
Ludgate was drafted in late last Thursday, as the acquisition talks
broke down between BMW and venture capitalist firm Alchemy, which had,
until then, been the Germans’ preferred bidder.
The consortium is led by John Towers, the former Rover chief executive
who now heads Birmingham automotive parts manufacturer Concentric. He
was introduced to Ludgate through Phoenix’s lead financial advisers
Albert E Sharp Securities, another Ludgate PR client.
The Ludgate account is headed by main board director Richard Hews, and
consists of a hastily-assembled four-strong team. It is handling all
press and broadcasting enquiries, as well as controlling access to
Towers, Phoenix finance director Peter Beale, special projects director
Nick Stephenson and the consortium’s remaining two directors, Midlands
businessmen Terry Whitmore and Brian Parker.
BMW has pencilled in the end of the month for concluding a deal on the
beleaguered Rover subsidiary, known as ’the English Patient’ to its
German parent company, after losing more than pounds 2 million pounds
Ludgate’s crisis brief is ongoing. Fees for the work are not known, but
if Phoenix succeeds in taking over Rover, Ludgate’s fees will
An estimated 11,000 jobs depend directly on the outcome of the talks
taking place this week at the offices of BMW’s UK lawyers Norton and
The Phoenix bid is supported by the major trade unions at Longbridge
since it pledges to maintain volume car production and limit job
BMW is reported to be preparing to dismantle the site and lay off the
workforce in case the bid fails.