The (not really) silent bidding for British sports car maker Aston Martin still is undecided. The current favorite appears to be the Mahindra Brothers in India, with an Italian private equity group also interested. Allegedly, there is another courtier, and that is China’s Geely.
Sohu (translation via Carnewschina) has it that Geely CEO Li Shufu has the hots for the British marque and wants to buy it just like he bought Volvo in 2010. Geely paid $1.5 billion for all of Volvo. Investment Dar Inc from Kuwait wants to sell its 64% stake for some $800 million, which looks comparatively expensive for a boutique firm like Aston Martin.
However, Sohu thinks that the Aston Martin brand is glam enough to “take advantage of the enthusiasm of local governments, and to create financial leverage.” Translation: Aston Martin is a good name to get cheap government credits. Geely did something similar to raise the money to buy Volvo, and Sohu says Geely wants to buy Aston Martin “in Volvo mode.”
One item should give Geely pause: Aston Martin has a few dealers in China, but business is less than brisk, I hear.
Also possible: The intensity of the bidding war is cooling down, to the dismay of the investment bankers. And a Chinese bidder is always good for a rumor.