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Chairman Says BMW Not for Sale

February 14, 1999

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ Germany’s BMW AG on Sunday repeated it wasn’t on the market, after a newspaper reported earlier General Motors Corp. planned to offer to buy the Bavarian company.

``There’s nothing to it,″ BMW’s new chairman Joachim Milberg said at a meeting with the governor of Bavaria, Edmund Stoiber.

``BMW is and remains independent,″ Milberg said.

Renewed rumors of a takeover bid for BMW swirled Saturday after German daily Die Welt reported Detroit-based General Motors, the biggest car company in the world, planned to make an offer.

General Motors on Saturday declined to comment on the report.

Speculation on BMW’s future has mounted along with losses at its British subsidiary, Rover.

BMW has invested more than $3.5 billion since buying the company in 1994. Yet analysts expect Rover to post a pretax loss of about $590 million for 1998.

Takeover and merger rumors were stoked when Bernd Pischetsrieder resigned as BMW chairman 10 days ago, amid criticism of his handling of Rover.

BMW’s main shareholder, the Quandt family, has consistently said its 46 percent stake isn’t for sale.

Ford Motor Co. president Jac Nasser last week declined to rule out a possible acquisition of German automaker BMW AG, but said he believes BMW and its major shareholders when they say they want to remain independent.

``I wouldn’t rule out anybody,″ Nasser said. ``But I think when a company with the stature of BMW and their board come out and say they want to be independent, you have to respect that.″

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