Aston Martin’s owners have hired Lazard to prepare for a stock market listing or sale of the British sportscar maker made famous by fictional spy James Bond, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. Italian private equity fund Investindustrial and a group of Kuwaiti investors, who together own more than 90 percent of the marque, are hoping to cash in on a recovery in sales and are in the initial stages of a strategic review. They have hired investment bank Lazard to work on a preliminary plan and could either opt for an initial public offering (IPO) in the third or fourth quarter of 2018 or a trade sale, two of the sources said on Friday. A deal could value the maker of the sportscar driven by Britain’s Prince William on his wedding day at between £2 and 3 billion, one of the sources said, adding a listing was the most likely option. However, no final decision had been taken and the investors could decide to retain control, the sources added. Investindustrial declined to comment while Aston Martin and Lazard did not return requests for comment.
Adeem Investment, one of the Kuwaiti investors, was not immediately available.If successful, a float of Aston Martin would be a milestone deal for the 104-year-old car manufacturer and would follow the IPO of Italian sportscar maker Ferrari which made its Wall Street debut in 2015 amid strong investor demand. Investindustrial, led by founder Andrea Bonomi, bought 37.5 per cent of Aston Martin in 2012 in what was the fund’s best-known investment in Britain. The fund is Aston Martin’s single biggest investor and is driving the plans, the sources said.