Fiat Chrysler has denied rumors of a potential takeover by China’s Great Wall Motor Co.
The Italian-American auto group told the Financial Times that it had not been approached by Great Wall, despite earlier reports to the contrary. The group told the FT: “In response to market rumors regarding a potential interest of Great Wall Motors in the Jeep brand, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles confirmed that it has not been approached by Great Wall Motors in connection with the Jeep brand or any other matter relating to its business.”
Earlier, Great Wall released a statement announcing their purported request for a meeting with FCA, with the intention of acquiring all or part of it.
A press relations official at Great Wall had previously told Reuters that it “currently [has] an intention to acquire. We are interested in (FCA).” Automotive News had reported that Great Wall was particularly interested in Jeep, the group’s most profitable brand. Morgan Stanley has estimated that Jeep could be worth as much as $24 billion, making it more valuable than both FCA and Great Wall.
As Chinese automakers like Zhejiang Geely acquire foreign brands such as Volvo (volvy), Great Wall is seeking its own piece of the potential profit from Europe and the U.S. Acquiring Jeep would allow Great Wall to enter the premium market with a well-recognized brand.
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The rumors of Great Wall’s expressed interest in FCA come just a month after the company’s CEO Sergio Marchionne announced that it was considering spinning off some of its business and would be presenting a five-year plan at the start of next year.
This story has been updated to reflect FCA’s response.