Aston Martin secured a deal to sell a stake of up to 20 percent in the struggling company to billionaire Lawrence Stroll, providing the luxury UK automaker with much needed funds to build a new SUV.
A consortium led by Stroll will pay 182 million pounds ($239 million) for a 16.7 percent stake, while a subsequent rights issue supported by major shareholders including Stroll will raise a further 318 million pounds, Aston Martin said in a statement on Friday.
Stroll's stake could rise to 20 percent upon completion of the rights issue.
The move will “immediately improve liquidity and reduce leverage,” Aston Martin said. “This follows the disappointing performance of the business through 2019.”
Stroll, a Canadian investor who owns a Formula One racing team, won the backing of Aston Martin’s board after rival suitor Geely cooled on the idea of investing in the sports-car maker. Geely, which controls Sweden's Volvo, Britain's Lotus Cars and holds a stake in Daimler, had been interested in a technology-sharing deal, sources said.
Aston Martin had also held talks with Chinese carmaker Geely but it wanted to instigate more fundamental change than the plan outlined on Friday, a person familiar with the talks told Reuters.
Aston Martin is mainly owned by Italian and Kuwaiti private equity groups. The fund raising plan hands the automaker a lifeline that will ease funding strains as it prepares to start building its first SUV, the DBX.
The DBX is meant to give the automaker a profit generator it can sell in higher volumes than the stylish sports cars made famous in the James Bond movies.
Nevertheless, the cash influx dilutes some of the existing shareholders, punctuating the disappointing turn of events since Aston Martin went public in October 2018. At the time, the company was touting a turnaround under CEO Andy Palmer, a former Nissan executive, helped by private-equity backing. Its share price has plummeted since the company was floated.