Fiat Chrysler bats away Great Wall bid talk after the Chinese car firm confirmed its interest in an acquisition

Rebecca Smith
Fiat Chrysler said it had not yet been approached by Great Wall Motor
Fiat Chrysler said it had not yet been approached by Great Wall Motor (Source: Getty)

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said today it has not been approached yet by Great Wall, after the Chinese firm confirmed earlier it was interested in a bid for some of, or all of, the Italian-American company.

A Great Wall spokesperson had told Reuters the firm was interested in bidding for FCA, saying the firm "have an intention to acquire", confirming reports that the Chinese group was pursuing the car firm that owns the Jeep brand.

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FCA's Milan-listed shares rose on the news, and were up 3.5 per cent in morning trading.

But FCA said today:

In response to market rumours regarding a potential interest of Great Wall Motors in the Jeep brand, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles confirmed that it has not been approached by Great Wall Motors in connection with the Jeep brand or any other matter relating to its business.

Fiat Chrysler also owns the likes of Alfa Romeo and Maserati, but Jeep is considered the most marketable of its brands.

If Great Wall was successful in picking up FCA, or one of its prominent brands, the Chinese firm would have a clear route to expand further into the US market.

FCA added that it was fully committed to executing its 2014-18 business plan, having achieved all of its targets to date.

The car firm is looking for a buyer or partner to help it navigate rising costs though, with the focus on electric and driverless cars a pricey development.

Dr Yupu Lin, a research fellow at Warwick Business School, said: "Although Great Wall Motors is the largest SUV maker in China, it has a key technology void, a weakness hindering its long-term development due to a lack of sufficient R&D expenditure. Acquiring FCA, especially Jeep, will overcome this weakness and enhance its technological capacity in SUV manufacturing."

Lin added: "It would be difficult for Great Wall to acquire the whole FCA group without external finance given the difference in their respective market values. Furthermore, it is arguable whether Great Wall has sufficient experience in running a global business such as FCA and solving the current operating problems which FCA is encountering."

The firm's chances of completing an acquisition would be bolstered, he said, "if it used offshore finance in its takeover structure".

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