Aston Martin, James Bond’s favourite car, is in the midst of a takeover battle. Potential buyers include Mahindra and Mahindra, Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota, along with Chinese car makers who are said to be eyeing a full or partial stake sale.

The Kuwaiti owners of Aston Martin have reportedly approached potential buyers to sell their majority stake in the company. Kuwaiti investment firm, The Investment Dar Company owns a controlling 64 per cent stake in the iconic British sports car maker.

The Investment Dar Company is said to be seeking $800 million for Aston Martin, which would essentially cover the $805-million the company paid Ford for the brand in 2007. Ford sold Aston Martin to a consortium of investors that included racing mogul David Richards and Kuwaiti companies, Investment Dar and Adeem Investment.

If a deal with auto major Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) fructifies, it is set to ape the 2008 buy of British-based luxury sports car brand Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) by Tata Motors.

In November 2010, M&M, the largest maker of sport-utility vehicles in India, acquired South Korean SUV maker Ssangyong for $368 million.

Toyota, another contender for the Aston Martin stake sale, supplies Aston Martin with the architecture for its Cygnet model. Reports about a likely sale started circulating when Toyota hired an auditor to conduct a study on purchasing the brand.

Other potential buyers, like JLR and M&M, also emerged. Aston Martin’s factory at Gaydon in England is next to the design and engineering centre of JLR, owned by Tata Motors.

When contacted, an M&M spokesperson told Business Line, “We do not comment on speculative stories”.

A JLR spokesperson said: . “We have no intention of purchasing Aston Martin. This is pure speculation. We are not involved in the bidding process”.

The Aston Martin spokesperson too, has insisted the firm is not for sale. Naji A. Soweidan of The Investment Dar Company was unavailable for comment.

(This article was published on November 16, 2012)
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