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Monday November 26, 2012

Aston Martin at centre of bidding war

MILAN: Aston Martin stands at the centre of an international takeover battle after Indian motors group Mahindra trumped an Italian bid for half of the British luxury car maker.

Italian private equity fund Investindustrial reached an agreement on Thursday with the owner, Kuwaiti investment house Investment Dar, but Mahindra and Mahindra made a higher offer on Friday, leaving the fate of the 98-year-old icon of British motor engineering hanging in the balance, sources familiar with the discussions said.

Aston Martin makes the cars immortalised by James Bond films down the decades in Gaydon, Warwickshire, the heartland of England’s early 20th century motor manufacturing heyday.

The company was sold in 2007 by US-based Ford Motor Co for £479mil (US$767mil), to Kuwait’s Investment Dar and another Kuwait fund, Adeem Investment Co.

The consortium was fronted by David Richards former Formula 1 Benetton and BAR racing boss, who remains chairman.

Aston Martin sells approaching 15% of its DB9, Vanquish and other models in Asia.

Wealthy Chinese buyers snapped up 110 cars in 2010 and sales are expected to have multliplied five-fold to over 500 this year.

”Talks are continuing through the weekend,” said one source, who said Investindustrial had bid between £200mil and £250mil (US$400mil) for the stake, and is confident of winning the race. – Reuters

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