Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and Investindustrial, a European private-equity fund based in Switzerland, are reportedly bidding for a substantial stake to take control of Aston Martin.

Reports suggest that Kuwaiti investment group Investment Dar, which brought Aston Martin from Ford in 2007, is now looking to sell a 50% stake in the UK-based luxury sports car firm Aston Martin (perhaps best known as the car of choice for fictional British secret agent James Bond). A sale to Investindustrial was close to agreement last week, before M&M stepped in with a higher offer, according to reports. Investment Dar is seeking to reduce its debt with the proceeds, reports suggest, and is also keen to address questions surrounding future model development and funding.

A source quoted by Reuters said that Investindustrial had bid between GBP200m and GBP250m for the stake, and sees its proposal as technically superior, including a technical partnership deal with Mercedes-Benz.

However, the apparent interest of India-based M&M – a specialist maker of utility vehicles – raises memories of Tata's acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover from Ford, which M&M was also interested in acquiring at the time. Acquiring Aston Martin would give the ambitious group a globally recognised premium automotive brand. Some analysts say, however, that an Aston Martin bid from M&M may be something of a 'vanity project', with few obvious industrial synergies or overlaps between the two companies present.

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