The Big Sale at Ford

Logos of the carmakers Jaguar and Land Rover are pictured during the first media day of the 78th Geneva Car Show at the Palexpo in Geneva

 Ford‘s soon-to-be-signed sale of Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Motors could bring in as much as $2.65 billion, according to local TV, or $2 billion according to the FT. Though the stage appears to be set, a Tata Group spokesman told Reuters discussions were ongoing. Tata Motors, India’s top vehicle maker maker of trucks and busses, received union backing for the deal and was named the front-runner in January by Ford, which is seeking to shore up its balance sheet and reduce debt.

JPMorgan‘s revised takeover offer for Bear Stearns is a “high risk transaction,” Punk Ziegel analyst Richard Bove said after JPMorgan boosted its all-stock offer five-fold to about $10 a share. “What is most disturbing about this deal is that it uses a great deal of Morgan capital to buy a company that is losing market share, in a series of businesses that are declining in size, with a top management team that is best described as sclerotic,” the veteran bank watcher wrote in a note to clients. “Investors believe that JPMorgan is underbidding for Bear Stearns… I do not. … Bear Stearns is a deeply troubled company which would have no value if the Federal Reserve had not stepped in to bail it out.”

China’s state-owned aluminum giant Chinalco - which teamed up last month with Alcoa to buy a $14 billion stake in Rio Tinto - may spend more than $4 billion this year on acquisitions at home and abroad, according to the South China Morning Post. That’s no great pile of investment. BHP has bid $147 billion for Rio. Though the company did not specify targets, it said non-ferrous metals would be the main focus.

Top Chinese chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp said it was in advanced talks to sell shares to a strategic investor, sparking a 16 percent surge in its shares. The news comes one year after media reports that the company hired two investment banks to find a strategic partner in a search that ultimately failed to win a suitor. SMIC’s market capitalization is around $1.1 billion.

Singapore state investor Temasek is close to selling its 42 percent stake in Bank Internasional Indonesia for over $1 billion, but not to HSBC. Europe’s biggest bank dropped out of the race, leaving Malayan Banking, Bank of China and late entrant Kookmin of South Korea to duke it out.

Bad News Bear

People enter the Bear Stearns building after JPMorgan Chase & Co said yesterday it was buying Bear Stearns for $2 a share, in New YorkThe aftershocks of Bear Stearns’ collapse are front and center. China’s CITIC Securities is moving on, formally calling off its $1 billion strategic tie-up; JPMorgan is moving in, ditching plans for a new office building now that it owns the $1.5 billion Bear Stearns HQ.

The Federal Reserve — hours away from the most aggressive rate cut in years — is arranging shotgun weddings for failing financial institutions, but policy makers might be running out of eligible suitors. “There may be some potential buyers left, but the list is looking pretty thin,” said Adam Compton, co-head of global financial stock research at RCM Global Investors.

Across the Atlantic, the European Commission said that while it was not asking for job cuts at stricken British mortgage lender Northern Rock, the bank would have to slim down to be a viable business in the future without state support. UK newspapers reported that one-third of staff could be axed.