Ford could announce the sale of Aston Martin this week, with Prodrive as the most likely new owner.


Reuters has reported that Ford could announce the sale of its Aston Martin luxury performance cars unit for more than 450 million pounds as early as this week. The report puts Formula One team Prodrive, working with Egypt’s Naeem investment bank, as frontrunner to buy the business. 


One other potential buyer, UK buyout firm Doughty Hanson, has pulled out of the bidding process organized by investment bank UBS, because it found previously undisclosed items in Aston Martin’s accounts. The UK’s Times newspaper said the items related to pensions, executive car perks and costs related to safety and engineering tests that were previously provided and paid for by Ford but that would now be the responsibility of Aston’s new owners. 


Prodrive had made a higher offer, but may have some problems financing the offer, according to the Times. UBS is reportedly keeping the door open to Doughty Hanson should the Prodrive deal not materialize.


Prodrive runs the Aston Martin Formula One team.


Ford said last year it would sell all or part of Aston Martin to raise funds for other businesses. It had hoped to raise US$1-2bn from the sale. It has previously said it would announce a buyer by the end of February.