[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 12 March 2007, 09:37 GMT
Aston Martin buyer to be unveiled
Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster
Kuwaiti investors are expected to be part of the consortium
The sale of luxury car business Aston Martin to a British-led company is expected to be announced later, with a news conference set for 1300 GMT.

The buyer is tipped to be a consortium led by Dave Richards, head of performance car firm Prodrive - based in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

The price for the maker of James Bond's favourite car is set to be 400-500m.

Current owner Ford bought 75% of Aston Martin in 1987, picking up the rest of the marque's shares six years later.

The American giant put Aston Martin up for sale six months ago, in response to its own financial problems.

Ford lost more than $12bn last year and has had to take out a $23bn mortgage to cover its restructuring.

Access to technology

It's a classic trophy asset
Simon Dorris, Lansdowne Consultants

"They're laying off tens of thousands of workers and closing plants in North America so raising $1bn by selling Aston Martin is a quick hit for them to keep their shareholders happy", David Bailey, professor of Economic Policy and International Business at Birmingham University, explained.

Ford is also expected to retain a minority stake in the business, such a move would help Aston's buyers retain access to the technology that drives the current models.

ASTON MARTIN HISTORY
Aston martin
1913: Founded by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford
1975: Sold to American owners
1987: Ford buys 75% stake
1994: Ford takes full control
2005: Record 4,500 sales

Aston Martin will reveal its new owner at a lunchtime press conference in the UK.

Dave Richards is a former accountant who became a professional rally driver, winning the World Rally Championship as co-driver with Ari Vatanen in 1981.

His company, Prodrive, already runs the Aston Martin racing team in the sports car series around the world, as well as the Subaru world rally team. However, Prodrive itself will probably not be involved in the consortium bid.

But with Prodrive due to enter Formula One racing next year there has been speculation that the cars might be Aston Martin branded.

The financial backing for the potential deal is understood to include Kuwaiti companies.


Are you a current or former owner of an Aston Martin? Do you have any pictures of it?

If so, send them to yourpics@bbc.co.uk




RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific