Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group (Photographer: Pankaj Nangia/Bloomberg News)

Tatas Said to Raise Stake in Tata Motors Amid Leadership Battle

(Bloomberg) -- Tata Group increased its holdings in Tata Motors Ltd., the owner of Jaguar Land Rover, before a crucial shareholder meeting next week called to remove the automaker’s chairman Cyrus Mistry from its board, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Group holding company Tata Sons Ltd. boosted its stake by about 1.7 percent and is open to purchasing more equity before the Dec. 22 extraordinary general meeting, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The group held 33 percent in Tata Motors, of which Tata Sons owned 27 percent as of Sept. 30, according to stock exchange filings.

Investors in Tata Motors and five other listed group companies are being asked at meetings this month to pick between Ratan Tata and Mistry, the man he replaced as chairman at India’s largest conglomerate. The October boardroom coup triggered a series of bitter public accusations and recriminations, with each side blaming the other for missteps at the salt-to-software empire. Tata is now asking shareholders to remove Mistry as a director from group units, beginning with Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. on Tuesday.

Tata Motors’ shares rose as much as 7 percent, the most intraday in a month, before trading at 464.05 rupees as of 11:43 a.m. in Mumbai. A Tata Sons spokesman declined to comment.

Tata Sons will want to consolidate its position by boosting shareholding in group companies so that it isn’t vulnerable at the upcoming meetings, said Shriram Subramanian, founder of InGovern Research Services, a proxy advisory firm.

Morgan Stanley was the sole bookrunner for an undisclosed purchaser to acquire as many as 50 million shares in Tata Motors for as much as 499.80 rupees apiece, according to terms for the deal obtained by Bloomberg on Monday.