Mahindra loses Aston Martin plot to Italian PE fund

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai
First Published: 20:56 IST(7/12/2012)
Last Updated: 21:00 IST(7/12/2012)
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Mahindra & Mahindra's run for a stake in the British luxury sports car brand Aston Martin has ended without success. It lost out a contest to the Italian private equity fund, Investindustrial, as the latter announced that it will buy 37.5% stake in Aston Martin for 150 million pounds (Rs 1,308 crore).


Aston Martin has said the fresh deal will enable the company to invest half a billion pounds (Rs 4,360 crore) in product development for the next five years.

Some industry watchers believe Mahindra pulled out of the race as the stake offered by the current owner, Kuwaiti firm Investment Dar Co, does not offer management control of Aston Martin.

At one point, the Indian auto conglomerate was seen the frontrunner as several factors including its experience in automobile manufacturing and its cash reserves that could fund investments in future products, while the support it garnered from the UK's powerful labour union Unite looked to work in its favour.

It was speculated that M&M had made a bigger offer for a stake in Aston Martin, the car brand immortalised by fictional superspy James Bond.

Aston Martin attracted M&M for it could enhance its image on the global stage. Five years back, M&M had unsuccessfully bid for iconic British brands Jaguar & Land Rover, which eventually went into rival Tata group. M&M's bid for Swedish auto firm Saab also fell through midway, although it bagged South Korean SUV maker SsangYong.

M&M's top management, returning from the annual internal get-together in Beijing, was not available for a response.

Some analysts are of the view that the deal if it had won, could have been a drain on its pocket as the sports car maker, still using 5-year old platforms, would have required huge investments.


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