Italy fund, Indian carmaker in race for Aston Martin-source

Last Updated: Sun, Nov 25, 2012 18:40 hrs

By Danilo Masoni

MILAN, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Italian private equity fund Investindustrial and Indian car maker Mahindra have made competing bids for 50 percent of British luxury car maker Aston Martin with a deal expected over the weekend, a source close to the matter said on Friday.

Investindustrial reached a agreement with Kuwaiti investment house Investment Dar, which owns Aston Martin, on Thursday but afterwards Mahindra made a higher counter bid, the source said.

"They are in talks. A deal is expected to be finalised over the weekend," the source said.

A spokesman for Investment Dar was not immediately available for comment, nor could Mahindra be reached for comment.

The source said Investindustrial had made a bid worth between 200 million and 250 million pounds ($400 million) for the stake and was confident in winning the race because its proposal was "technically" superior.

It said Investindustrial had agreed a technical partnership deal with Daimler AG's Mercedes.

Investindustrial, owned by Italy's Bonomi family, is not new luxury motor brands. In 2006, t bought Italian motorcycle maker Ducati and sold it for about 860 million euros last April to Volkswagen's Audi division.

($1 = 0.6246 British pounds) (Additional reporting by Amran Abocar in Dubai; Editing by Lisa Jucca and Leslie Gevirtz)

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