In James Bond style, Italian investor rushes to Aston Martin's rescue
Turns out James Bond isn't the only one who's taking a high-stakes ride with Aston Martin these days. On Friday, the Italian private equity firm Investindustrial agreed to pay $241 million for a 37.5 percent share of the carmaker in a deal with majority Kuwaiti owner Investment Dar. The Italian group beat Indian carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra in a head-to-head battle for a stake in 007's favorite car company.
In response, Aston Martin announced it would invest $1 billion in new products and technology.
Up until the Investindustrial deal, the only good news for Aston Martin last week had been that the new Bond movie, Skyfall, was doing gangbusters at the box office and generating good buzz for the company, thanks to 007's movie heroics in an immaculate 1965 Aston Martin DB5.
Moody's Investors Service had set a tone of gloom by putting the British luxury car maker under review for a possible credit downgrade after the company reported negative cash flow in the third quarter. Aston's global sales plunged 20 percent to 2,520 vehicles in the first nine months of 2012. Moody's said weak demand for cars with 12-cylinder engines led to an operating loss of $5.8 million.
Aston still gets engines from Ford, but lost access to other Ford resources after the sale and remains the only global luxury brand that's not part of a larger auto group.