Paper: Ford Reviewing Jaguar Brand, Other Operations

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Ford Motor Co. (F) is launching a strategic review of operations such as the Jaguar brand, that may lead to asset sales or alliances with other companies, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the situation.

Kenneth Leet, who led mergers and acquisitions teams at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC), will spearhead the effort for Ford, the report said.

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Leet is reporting to Ford Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Ford, who is under pressure from the automaker's board to take more dramatic steps in his restructuring efforts, the report said.

An announcement about Leet is expected later today, the paper reported.

"We have nothing to announce at the moment," Ford spokesman Tom Hoyt said. A Jaguar spokesman declined comment.

Shares rose 20 cents, or 3 percent, to $6.78 in premarket Inet trading.

Last month, Ford, which has been working to slash costs and stem market-share losses, reported an unexpected second-quarter loss of $123 million.

Ford started a restructuring program six months ago in North America that include closing 14 plants and cutting up to 30,000 factory jobs.

Ford is facing challenges overseas as well, particularly in its money-losing British luxury car unit Jaguar. Jaguar was bought 1989 and Ford has struggled to make money on the brand.

In an interview with Reuters on July 20, CEO Bill Ford said Jaguar will take time to turn around, but he was considering all options for the brand.

"I am not patient," he said. "Nothing is off the table in terms of any of our entities."

Ford's Premier Automotive Group of European premium brands including Jaguar swung to a pre-tax loss of $162 million for the second quarter from a pre-tax profit of $17 million.

It blamed currency headwinds as favorable hedge contracts expired, higher reserves for warranties and lower market share at Swedish brand Volvo ahead of new model launches.

Bill Ford has also said that he was open to alliances with other automakers, but was not in talks with any companies currently.

Last month, rival General Motors Corp. (GM) said it is considering a three-way alliance with Nissan Motor Co and Renault SA.

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