LONDON - Ford Motor Co. could announce the sale of its Aston Martin
luxury performance cars unit for more than 450 million pounds ($865
million) as early as this week, a source familiar with the matter said
Formula One team Prodrive, working with Egypt's Naeem investment bank,
is frontrunner to buy the business although other bidders such as UK
buyout firm Doughty Hanson are still in the process should talks fall
through, the source said.
The timing of the deal could also yet slip, the source added.
Doughty Hanson and Syrian-born property tycoon Simon Halabi also
submitted second-round offers for Aston Martin in an auction being run
by investment bank UBS AG, sources familiar with the matter said last
Ford said last year it would sell all or part of Aston Martin to raise
funds for other businesses.
Aston Martin is on solid financial footing, a top Ford official said
in January, adding that sales of the British car made famous by the
James Bond spy movies increased by around half last year to about
Ford declined to comment.