China's Geely Takes 8-Percent Stake in Aston Martin

Photo credit: Dominic Fraser
Photo credit: Dominic Fraser

Aston Martin announced Friday it has raised £654 million ($726 million) as it aims to produce a range of mid-engine sports cars, and push into electrification. One of the more interesting shareholders is Geely, the Chinese automaker that owns Volvo, Polestar, and Lotus, plus a stake in Mercedes-Benz. Per the Financial Times, Aston Martin and Geely are planning to share technologies in the coming years.

FT points out that Geely previously nearly bought Aston Martin. After the English brand's disastrous IPO, two competing takeover offers from Geely and Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll were considered. Geely wanted to push Aston Martin quickly into electrification, as it's doing with Lotus, while Stroll wanted to enter Formula 1 and compete with the likes of Ferrari and McLaren with a line of mid-engine road cars. Stroll—whose son Lance races for the Aston Martin F1 team—won out, though Geely continued to display interest in Aston. Geely's stake is 7.6 percent, and it will not gain a seat on Aston Martin's board.

Aston Martin's other new major shareholder is the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), which acquired an 18.7-percent stake in the company. The PIF is a majority shareholder in American EV startup Lucid Motors, and owns minority stakes in Pagani, and Aston Martin competitor McLaren.

Aston Martin is still heavily in debt, and there are questions regarding whether Lawrence Stroll will continue trying to prop up the automaker. FT says that Geely could be a potential buyer if Stroll decides enough is enough. Geely has backed a successful turnaround for Volvo, transformed Polestar into a promising luxury-EV brand, and seems to be doing right by Lotus. Perhaps it wouldn't be the worst outcome for a British brand that's been on the brink for nearly a half-decade.

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