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Aston Martin for sale

2007-02-07 08:31
London - US carmaker Ford is set to get more than $880.4m for the Aston Martin luxury car unit it is auctioning off, sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Bidders including UK-based private equity firm Doughty Hanson made second-round offers for the carmaker last week in an auction being run by investment bank UBS AG, the sources said.

Investment bankers have said the marque is likely to attract wide interest due to its desirable brand and could be viewed by some bidders as a trophy asset rather than a private equity-style business investment with rigorous returns targets.

Ford and Doughty Hanson both declined to comment.

Ford last year said it would sell all or part of Aston Martin to raise funds for other group businesses.

A deal for Aston Martin - which analysts call a rare and unusual asset worth perhaps $1bn - is expected within months.

Aston Martin is on solid financial footing, a top Ford official said last month, adding the British car made famous as fictional spy James Bond's favorite ride boosted sales last year by about half to some 6 500 units.

Bidders reported to be circling include activist investor Nelson Peltz, who is one of the lead contenders to buy Aston Martin, the Times reported on Tuesday.

Last month, the Financial Times said second round bidders for the unit also included Syrian-born property tycoon Simon Halabi.

Magna, the Canadian auto-parts maker, and a consortium including Australian media executive James Packer could also lodge offers, according to the FT.

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