Aston Martin Sells Part to Former Ducati Owners


New deal brings significant financial investment and possible AMG partnership to the cash-strapped British luxury automaker.

Though Aston Martins sells for big bucks, don't assume that means that the company that makes them is generating big profits. In fact the British automaker has been struggling since a group of investors bought the brand from Ford back in 2007. But a new deal promises to give Aston the capital it needs. That deal involves a 37.5% stake which Italian private equity firm Investindustrial has just taken in Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd, purchasing the shares from Kuwaiti firm Investment Dar for $240 million.

So who is Investindustrial? It's no stranger to the automotive industry, having acquired majority stake Ducati in 2005 and recently selling it to Audi for over a billion - roughly three times what it was said to have paid for it in the first place. Investindustrial appears to have driven a hard bargain once again with Aston, paying only half of what Investment Dar was asking. The Italian firm beat out Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra (which was clearly eying a similar arrangement that Tata has with Jaguar) to win the bid, even though Mahindra was reportedly offering more money. So what does Investindustrial bring to the table?

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For starters, it is said to be investing an additional $800 million into Aston's R&D budget, which is sure to help the company step away from the antiquated technologies still underpinning its products and towards new developments to keep it ahead of the proverbial curve. For another, Investindustrial has apparently brokered a closer collaboration with Mercedes AMG. Aston was already partnering with Mercedes in a limited capacity, but Investindustrial (which was already collaborating with AMG when it owned Ducati) has reportedly brought that closer to reality.

The result could see AMG engines and transmissions powering future Aston Martins (much as it does for Pagani). As Aston Martin chairman David Richards put it in announcing the deal, "Investindustrial's new investment reflects and sustains the unique position of Aston Martin within the industry. With this partnership and the continued commitment of The Investment Dar, we look forward to working with our shareholders as we realise our vision and exciting future plans."