A report from USA Today has automaker Ford
With sales of the once-popular F-150 pickup truck tumbling in the face of persistently high oil prices, and competitors like Toyota
For the first six months of the fiscal year, the car and truck maker has lost more than $1 billion in North America. It's now considering a variety of options to gain traction, including selling off luxury brands like Jaguar. One would think that a sale of its Land Rover division, a segment composed essentially of gas-consuming SUVs, would be considered as well, along with plans to pair up with another auto maker such as Renault-Nissan. DaimlerChrysler
Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Renault-Nissan, has made a lot of headlines lately as the turnaround specialist du jour. Many are anticipating that he'll next save General Motors
Yet it seems to this Fool that a private Ford really only benefits the Ford family. There's really no reason the company can't pursue its various options and opportunities as a public company, and ignore the whining from Wall Street. Besides, a company shouldn't necessarily be concerned with how its moves are viewed by the Street, so long as they're in the best interests of the shareholders. Sure, a stock may get knocked back occasionally -- Ford's stock has traded between $6 and $10 for the past year -- but management is supposed to concern itself with the company's long-term performance, not the stock's short-term movements.
With Ford's stock now trading below $8, the Ford family would stand to gain substantially on a revitalized company that went public once again. It would only cost the family about $13 billion or so to take the firm private, and the potential to reap a greater windfall when Ford is fixed would be significant. The losers, of course, would be current outside shareholders, who would miss out on the opportunity to share in the growth, and who have waited patiently for the company to extricate itself from its predicament.
Ford acquired a stable of premium names -- Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin -- at premium prices that have subsequently drained performance. Selling them off now would fetch some decent cash and perhaps boost the company's efforts down the road, but taking the car maker private now is an idea that seems unformed and under construction.
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