M&A: Tata says hello to Land Rover and Jaguar
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M&A: Tata says hello to Land Rover and Jaguar

If it’s a chilly wintry day in London, Ratan Tata must be in town buying classic-but-hoary old UK brands. In 2007, the Indian industrialist made headlines after overpaying (as Tata himself admitted) to snap up Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus for $12.9 billion. At the time, a banker involved with the deal remembered with a grimace the awful steel assets up for sale on the British side of Corus, noting that they were the worst he’d seen in a developed country in "a long, long time". Never mind: Mumbai-listed Tata Steel, the division that completed the Corus acquisition on January 31 2007 with the aid of a $2.66 billion bridge loan and $6.14 billion-worth of debt, saw its stock more than double in value in 2007 – although it has fallen back by a third this year, in line with the rest of the market.

Tata has been on the warpath again. In late March, Mumbai-listed Tata Motors completed its $2 billion acquisition of two classic British marques: Land Rover and Jaguar. (Tata Motors is actually completing the transaction via the group’s holding company and charitable institution, Tata Sons, which transfers most of the firm’s profits to needy causes.

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