Selling your classic car? It's FREE to list your car on Honest John Classics | No thanks

Rover's 'Dunkirk' approved

16 March 1994

MICHAEL HARRISON, Industrial Editor
Wednesday, 16 March 1994

IF THE sale of Rover to BMW marks Britain's industrial Dunkirk, as the banners outside lamented, then the small army of British Aerospace shareholders opposed to the deal retreated beaten but not bloodied, and much less bowed yesterday.

The pounds 800m sale of Britain's only remaining volume car maker into German hands was approved overwhelmingly by an extraordinary meeting of BAe shareholders in London after institutions had weighed in to back the deal. But not before 200 disgruntled small shareholders had vented their anger against the BAe board.

Outside the meeting at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in Hyde Park, a tiny knot of protesters representing the Keep Rover British campaign and the UK Independence Party had gathered to give BAe a foretaste of what to expect. Sheltering behind a skip, their Union flags fluttering in the breeze, the small group held aloft placards warning that the sale would mean 'the death of British industry'.

Inside the Royal Lancaster the reception was scarcely less hostile. The hall was thick with accusations of betrayal, incompetence and short-sightedness - most of them aimed at John Cahill, BAe's departing chairman. Shareholder after shareholder stood up to condemn the deal as 'offensive', 'insensitive' and 'deplorable'.

What written assurances had BAe got from BMW that Rover jobs, production and technology would be preserved?, one asked. None, the BAe board conceded. 'At least Neville Chamberlain got a piece of paper,' came the reply.

The sale was rejected by 111 to 42 votes on a show of hands but the big institutions weighed in with their proxy votes to approve the deal by 119.6 million shares to 2.9 million shares against - a majority of nearly 98 per cent.

More news from the archive

Thu, 10 Feb 1994
MICHAEL HARRISON, Industrial Editor Thursday, 10 February 1994 THE GERMAN car manufacturer BMW, which bought Rover last week for £800m,...
Mon, 14 Feb 1994
BUSINESS WEEK International Business It was the closest relationship between any Japanese and European carmaker. It began with a modest...
Mon, 21 Feb 1994
ROVER Honda announces it will relinquish its 20 % stake in the Rover Group requiring the latter to relinquish its 20 % stake in the...
Tue, 22 Feb 1994
View from City Road: Jilted bride prepares for future without Rover THE INDEPENDENT Tokyo, 21 February: BMW man emerges smiling...
Wed, 09 Mar 1994
THE INDEPENDENT Honda threat to axe Rover licences: Michael Harrison at the Geneva Motor Show on a Japanese warning that could devastate...
Fri, 18 Mar 1994
BMW BMW AG officially buys the Rover Group.
Sun, 10 Apr 1994
THE INDEPENDENT Former Leyland Trucks executive Profile: Aintree's baron looks to the next hurdle: Sir Desmond Pitcher: In hi-tech...
Fri, 15 Apr 1994
THE INDEPENDENT BRITISH motorists love affair with the Mini appears to be finally cooling after 35 years, a survey revealed yesterday....
Sun, 22 May 1994
THE INDEPENDENT MOTORING / Auto Biography: The Jaguar XJ6 4.0.S in 0-60 seconds JOHN FORDHAM IF A Mercedes Benz purrs like a disk-drive,...
Mon, 06 Jun 1994
THE INDEPENDENT MARY FAGAN, Industrial Correspondent LAND ROVER was inundated with telephone calls from job-seekers yesterday following...