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In another high-profile acquisition, Saudi Arabia in talks to buy stakes in Aston Martin

July 1, 2022 at 2:45 pm

An Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. Vantage automobile stands on display on 14 August 2019 [Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg/Getty Images]

Saudi Arabia is in talks with Aston Martin to purchase stakes in the firm’s business. The iconic British luxury car maker is seeking funds for its next range of cars. According to the Financial Times, Aston Martin was in debt by over a billion dollars at the end of March and expects to pay about $156 million in debt interest this year.

With rising debt and sales down, the business is seeking new sources of funding for its upcoming generation of vehicles, which are key to the company’s survival. This includes next generation sports cars and its first push into electric vehicles, at a time when the business is saddled with debt and producing no net cash.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), an arm of the State run by Crown Prince, Muhammed Bin Salman, is said to be in talks to take fresh equity in the business that could be worth $240 billion, according to four people cited in the FT. PIF already has holdings in Lucid Motors and McLaren.

Discussions between Aston Martin and PIF represent a reversal from the company’s publicly stated position in February, when Chair and owner, Lawrence Stroll, insisted that the business did not need additional funding. “Let me be crystal clear, black and white: we do not need money,” he is reported saying at the time, according to the FT.

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Riyadh’s purchase of stakes in Aston Martin will be a significant addition to the Kingdom’s portfolio. PIF has ventured into every major sector to make iconic purchases, such as the controversial sale of Newcastle United football club.

These purchases are part of Crown Prince Bin Salman’s drive towards modernisation and ending the Kingdom’s heavy dependence on oil. But its motivations are not purely economic say critics, pointing to what they say is Riyadh’s agenda of washing away its human rights abuse through sports and acquisition of well-known global brands.