Investindustrial grabs wheel at Aston Martin

The deal values the luxury carmaker at €940m.

Investindustrial is to acquire a 37.5 percent stake in the UK luxury carmaker Aston Martin. The Southern Europe-focused fund manager will inject €190 million in fresh capital in the company, giving it an enterprise value of €940 million, according to a statement.

The transaction is expected to be approved by the antitrust authorities in the first quarter of 2013.

Investindustrial reportedly trumped Mahindra and Mahindra, an Indian tractor maker, in a two-way contest to seal the deal. It will share ownership with Investment Dar, a Kuwaiti investment group, who led a group of investors that bought Aston Martin from Ford Motors in 2007. Both firms declined to comment on the transaction.

Founded in 1913 in London, Aston Martin is famous for its sportive performance, elegant design and its features as the UK agent car in 11 James Bond movies. In 2011, it generated a turnover of €634 million with an EBITDA of €101 million.

The new capital will help Aston Martin fund its new phase of investment, David Richards, Aston Martin’s chairman, said in a statement. The carmaker intends to spend more than €625 million in its new product and technology programme over the next five years.

It is not the first time Investindustrial seizes the driver seat of a luxury motor brand. The firm acquired the premium sports motorcycle maker Ducati from TPG in 2006, turned it in the space of 5 years, and sold it in April 2012 for $1.1 billion. Investindustrial netted a 3x return on the deal, Private Equity International reported at the time.

Investindustrial first invested in the automotive sector in 1990s, when it bought UK gearbox engineering firm David Brown. The company, coincidentally, is a former owner of Aston Martin. Its initials are still visible on a number of the carmaker’s models.