Aston Martin scores bids from Mahindra and UK equity house

Three weeks, ago
Businessweek reported that Investment Dar, Inc. was
looking to shed its majority stake in
Aston Martin. The Kuwait-based financial firm is apparently seeking to restructure its debt load and has sought $800 million for its 64-percent share in the English automaker. That amount compares to the $925 million that it took for a consortium, Investment Dar among them, to purchase 100-percent of
Aston Martin from
Ford in 2007.

According to reports, bidding for the 64 percent hasn’t gone anywhere near that price, however.
Bloomberg (parent company of
Businessweek) reports that London-based private equity house Investindustrial has made a bid of nearly 250 million pounds ($401 million U.S.), with their overture trumped shortly thereafter by Indian automaking conglomerate
Mahindra & Mahindra. According to the report, a winner will be chosen from among those two companies, but instead of Investment Dar’s entire 64-percent stake, the winner will get 40 percent equity and 50 percent of the voting rights. Investment Dar will hold onto 24 percent of Aston.

There’s some confusion around some of the numbers, however. According to
Financial News, though, the stake being offered is 50 percent and Investindustrial, even with a lower bid, might still be the favorite. Investindustrial bought
Ducati in 2006, then
sold it to Audi for a 300-percent gain in July of this year. Working with another German automaker this time around, it’s said that Investindustrial has stressed its commitment to invest in new product, and both reports indicate that it has a tentative deal with
Mercedes-Benz to provide Aston access to technology, engines, gearboxes and other parts from
AMG. An announcement of the winning bidder could come as soon as this weekend.

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