LONDON -- Executives from Chinese carmaker Nanjing Automobile were in central England on Monday to begin the search for a management team and a new car production site after winning a bid to buy Britain's MG Rover.
Administrators of bankrupt MG Rover chose Nanjing over rival Chinese carmaker Shanghai Automotive Corp. (SAIC) late on Friday to buy the assets of MG Rover and partly resume production of the iconic brand in the UK.
SAIC said on Monday it was still considering its legal options after losing the bid, but administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers said the deal was final.
The long-awaited deal followed the collapse of MG Rover in April under debts of 1.4 billion pounds ($2.4 billion), with the loss of 5,000 jobs after the carmaker was forced to close its production plant at Longbridge in central England.
Nanjing executives were in the West Midlands on Monday to meet with the broader community ahead of searching for managers and a production site if MG Rover car production is resumed in the area, a spokesman said.
Nanjing said Friday it would relocate MG Rover's engine plant and some car production to China.
However, it expected to employ up to 2,000 British workers and produce at least 80,000 MG saloon and sports cars within five years and develop a research and development facility.
SAIC, which pulled out of a joint venture earlier this year that was expected to save the carmaker, said on Monday it was still considering its legal position after losing the bid.
A source familiar with the situation said any challenge was likely to focus on whether Nanjing had breached any intellectual property rights under the deal. SAIC owns the rights to build the Rover 25 small car and Rover 75 saloon under an earlier deal.
Joint administrator Tony Lomas said on Monday the Nanjing offer was final.
"Nanjing has paid a non-refundable deposit, and there will be a letter-of-credit payment in respect of the money. It is an unconditional contract," Lomas was quoted on the BBC's Web site as saying in an interview.
He said Nanjing by Friday had been in a more advanced stage of talks than SAIC and had set a deadline of Friday or it would withdraw the bid.
The SAIC bid, which had been tipped to win the bidding war, was favored by unions who believed it offered the prospect of creating the most jobs in Britain.