Aston Martin, the British luxury-car maker controlled by Investment Dar Co., is in “advanced” talks with potential investors to boost funding through a capital increase.
The proposed plan is to ensure the Gaydon, England-based company can “deliver its medium- and long-term growth plans,” Aston Martin spokeswoman Janette Green said by e-mail, without providing details on possible investors.
Kuwaiti owner Investment Dar has received competing bids from Investindustrial and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. for half the sports-car maker, three people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last week. Investindustrial, a European private-equity fund based in London, offered just under 250 million pounds ($400 million), with Indian automaker Mahindra then trumping the offer with a higher bid, they said.
Investment Dar, part of the group that bought Aston Martin from Ford Motor Co. for 503 million pounds in 2007, has been seeking an investor for Aston Martin, the maker of luxury sports cars featured in James Bond movies, for months, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month. The talks have the support of Aston Martin’s owners, spokeswoman Green said Wednesday.
The winner of the bid would get 50 percent of voting rights and a 40 percent equity stake, one of the people told Bloomberg last week. While the Mahindra bid is higher, Investindustrial includes plans to use technology and car parts from AMG, the Mercedes-Benz unit that makes sports cars, two of the people said.
While Aston Martin still gets engines from Ford, it lost access to Ford’s other resources after the sale and remains the only global luxury brand that’s not part of a larger auto group.
That independence could be a handicap with the auto industry under pressure to develop technologies to improve fuel efficiency. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG is investing more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) this year on making engines more efficient and developing electric vehicles. That sum exceeds Aston Martin ’s 2011 revenue of 507 million pounds.
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