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Old 02-07-2007, 06:46   #1 (permalink)
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Aston Martin to fetch more than $880m in Ford sell-off

Aston Martin to fetch more than $880m in Ford sell-off

U.S. carmaker Ford Motor Co. is set to receive more than 450 million pounds ($880 million) for the Aston Martin luxury car unit, which it is selling, sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Bidders including UK-based private equity firm Doughty Hanson and Syrian-born property tycoon Simon Halabi submitted second-round offers for Aston Martin 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, Doughty Hanson and Halabi declined to comment.

Ford last year said it would sell all or part of Aston Martin to raise funds for other businesses. A deal for Aston Martin -- which analysts call a rare and unusual asset worth as much as $1 billion -- is expected within weeks.

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 around half to some 6,500 units.

Other bidders reported to be circling include activist investor Nelson Peltz, the Times reported on Tuesday.

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