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Competing bids offered for Aston Martin stake

LONDON — Aston Martin owner Investment Dar Co. has received competing bids from Investindustrial and Mahindra & Mahindra for half the sports-car maker, three people familiar with the matter said.

Investment Dar and other Kuwaiti investors who own Aston Martin may choose a winner as early as this weekend, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The buyer will get the stake as part of a capital increase, two of the people said.

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Investindustrial, a European private-equity fund based in London, offered just under $401 million, said the people. Indian automaker Mahindra then trumped the offer with a higher bid, they said.

A decision would mark the end of a months-long search by Investment Dar to find an investor for Aston Martin, the maker of luxury sports cars featured in James Bond movies, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month. For Investment Dar, part of the group that bought Aston Martin from Ford for $805 million in 2007, the proceeds would help the company pay off debt.

The winning bidder will get 50 percent of the voting rights and a 40 percent equity stake, one of the people said. Investment Dar, the other Kuwaiti investors, and Aston Martin management will retain the rest, the person said.

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