Investindustrial confirms Aston Martin stake buy
LONDON (Reuters) - Italian private equity fund Investindustrial has signed a deal to buy 37.5 percent of Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd ASTON.UL from its Kuwaiti owner Investment Dar.
Investindustrial is investing 150 million pounds ($241 million) in Aston Martin in the form of a capital increase, said the British car-maker on Friday.
Aston Martin, whose cars became famed for their starring role in James Bond films, said the deal would enable it to "invest more than half a billion pounds in new products and a technology program over the next five years".
The British company said the deal gave the group an enterprise value of 780 million pounds, compared to a value of 630 million pounds prior to the agreement.
It added that no agreement had been made on a technical partnership for Aston Martin with Daimler AG's Mercedes (DAIGn.DE), as some analysts had expected.
Investindustrial said in a statement its stake would come with proportional voting rights and that it expected to receive clearance from competition bodies in the first quarter of 2013.
The Italian group beat Indian tractor maker Mahindra and Mahindra (MAHM.NS) in a two-way battle to invest in the British sportscar maker.
Mahindra and Mahindra had been touted as the frontrunner to buy the stake but Investindustrial emerged as the favorite to seal the deal in recent days. Sources told Reuters on Thursday night that Investindustrial was close to sealing a deal.
Aston Martin, perhaps best known for its classic DB5 sportscar, which upstaged Sean Connery in early Bond movies, makes its cars in Gaydon, Warwickshire, the heartland of England's early 20th century motor manufacturing heyday.
But the 99-year-old maker of the DB9 and Vanquish sportscars has struggled in recent years. Last week Aston said it sold 2,340 cars in the year to September 30, 19 percent fewer than last year.
The company has cut costs but needs funds for research and development and to create new vehicles.
Investindustrial, owned by Italy's Bonomi family, is not new to luxury motor brands. In 2006, it bought Italian motorcycle maker Ducati and sold it for about 860 million euros last April to Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE) Audi division.
Aston Martin was sold in 2007 by U.S.-based Ford Motor Co (F.N) for 479 million pounds, to Kuwait's Investment Dar and another Kuwait fund, Adeem Investment Co.
($1 = 0.6219 British pounds)
(Reporting by Rhys Jones and Jennifer Clark; editing by Rosalba O'Brien)
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