Auto major Mahindra & Mahindra's board on Saturday approved bidding to acquire beleaguered South Korea's SsangYong Motor ahead of the August 10 deadline for submission of bids.
'The board of directors of the company at its meeting held on August 7, 2010, have authorised submission of a binding bid to acquire majority stake in SsangYong Motor Co Ltd, South Korea,' the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
The company, however, did not elaborate on the details.
Company officials were tight-lipped on the sum that the firm could shell out to make its bid successful, although it has been speculated that SsangYong could be worth up to USD 500 million.
The board's decision came after it had postponed taking a decision twice in July, as the company sought more information and wanted to take a final call to a date closer to the August 10 deadline of submission of bids.
Earlier on July 15, a special meeting of the company's board had deferred the decision to be taken on July 28, which also did not finalise on the bid.
SsangYong Motor (SM), which is into mainly manufacturing of sports utility vehicles (SUV) and recreational vehicles (RV), had extended the deadline for submission of bids to August 10 from July 20.
SM has SUV models like 'Rexton', 'Kyron' and 'Actyon' and sedan 'Chairman'. The Seoul-based firm, which has been undergoing a court-led restructuring since 2009, had shortlisted six bidders, including Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), P K Ruia-led Ruia Group and a Nissan-led consortium, as potential suitors.
Industry analysts had said M&M is interested in SM as the homegrown utility vehicle major can gain technological benefits from the range of SUVs that the South Korean firm has at its disposal.
In 2008, M&M had lost out to Tata Motors in the race to acquire the British premium car brands Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford.
The other Indian entity interested to acquire SM - the P K Ruia group, which had sought more time to complete the due diligence, had also said it would be taking a final decision in the next two days.
China's SAIC Motor Corp owns 10 per cent in the troubled automaker and about 70 per cent is held by creditors, led by state-owned Korea Development Bank.