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Mahindra & Mahindra among firms approached to acquire Aston Martin

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Aston Martin’s controlling shareholder, Investment Dar Co, has approached potential buyers for the maker of luxury sports cars featured in James Bond movies, said five people with knowledge of the matter.

The Kuwaiti company, which owns 64 per cent of Gaydon, UK-based Aston Martin, has hired Rothschild to advise on the sale, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd is among potential suitors Investment Dar has approached in recent few months, two of the people said.

A sale has proven difficult because investors haven’t been willing to match the price the Kuwaiti owner paid five years ago, said two of the people. Investment Dar has sought about $800 million for its stake, one person said.

For Kuwait’s Investment Dar, part of the group that bought Aston Martin for $805 million in 2007, the proceeds would help the company pay off debt. A new backer for Aston Martin may help the maker of the £1.2-million One-77 to develop cars that can challenge Volkswagen AG’s Bentley and Fiat SpA’s Ferrari. “I don’t think you can truly compete without having the capabilities of a large car company behind you,” said John Wolkonowicz, an independent auto analyst. A representative at Investment Dar, who asked not to be named, denied the company is seeking to sell Aston Martin. Janette Green, director of brand communications at Aston Martin, said Investment Dar isn’t considering a sale. Requests for comment to Chairman David Richards were referred back to Green. Roma Balwani, a Mahindra spokeswoman in Mumbai, declined to comment on speculation.

The British car maker’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation last year fell 18 per cent to £76.2 million, with deliveries steady at about 4,200 vehicles. The company’s factory in Gaydon is adjacent to an engineering facility for Tata Motors’ Jaguar Land Rover.