Two prominent European billionaires are reported to be considering a bid for Aston Martin.

According to the Financial Times, Bernard Arnault and Albert Frère, will create a joint investment structure involving their companies, Groupe Arnault and NPM/CNP respectively.

Arnault (57) is described as France's richest man, and controls Paris-based luxury goods multi-national, LVMH, that includes the Louis Vuitton, Moet & Chandon, Christian Dior and Fendi brands.

Frère (80), chairs Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, a listed Belgian investment company that owns stakes in oil producer, Total, and cement maker, Lafarge.

According to the FT, an offer from the pair could be in the region of EUR1bn. The new investment vehicle would have equity financing capacity of this amount, and by borrowing this could be increased to EUR4-5bn.

Ford has appointed UBS to sell Aston Martin. UBS has sent information to prospective bidders and is expected to draw up a short list of serious contenders soon.

Other bidders rumoured in the press include another luxury goods firm, the Swiss-based Richemont, whose brands include Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC, Alfred Dunhill and Montblanc. Richemont also has a substantial stake in British American Tobacco (BAT).

Aston Martin's chief executive Ulrich Bez has also been reported to be planning a management buyout and an offer for Aston is expected from private equity firm One Equity Partners, fronted by former Ford boss Jac Nasser.

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