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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rover Sale Falls Through

LONDON -- British investment firm Alchemy Partners unexpectedly pulled out of talks with German carmaker BMW to take over its loss-making Rover unit Friday, just a day after a deal appeared imminent.

"Alchemy Partners and BMW have ceased negotiations as they were unable to agree upon certain contractual matters, some of which arose yesterday," said an Alchemy spokesman.

Alchemy entered exclusive negotiations with BMW over the sale of Rover in mid-March and said Thursday that its talks were proceeding swiftly.

But industry sources said a number of items had been raised at the eleventh hour which Alchemy felt unable to agree to. Alchemy's plans for Rover had been lambasted by British politicians and unions who feared the venture capital firm's plans to halve production at the carmaker's main Longbridge plant would mean heavy job losses.

But Friday's move appeared to leave no other bidders in the pipeline after BMW Thursday effectively ruled out the only other apparent rival bid presented by a consortium led by former Rover chief executive John Towers.

Analysts said Friday's announcement could mean BMW was planning simply to shut down all of Rover Cars operations - after a six-year unsuccessful struggle to make the carmaker profitable.

"Either BMW closes Rover itself. Or there is another deal they want," said John Lawson, an analyst with Salomon Smith Barney.