Italy fund, Indian carmaker in race for Aston Martin: source

MILAN Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:50pm GMT

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MILAN (Reuters) - Italian private equity fund Investindustrial and Indian car maker Mahindra (MAHM.NS) have made competing bids for 50 percent of British luxury car maker Aston Martin with a deal expected over the weekend, a source close to the matter said on Friday.

Investindustrial reached a agreement with Kuwaiti investment house Investment Dar, which owns Aston Martin, on Thursday but afterwards Mahindra made a higher counter bid, the source said.

"They are in talks. A deal is expected to be finalized over the weekend," the source said.

A spokesman for Investment Dar was not immediately available for comment, nor could Mahindra be reached for comment.

The source said Investindustrial had made a bid worth between 200 million and 250 million pounds ($400 million) for the stake and was confident in winning the race because its proposal was "technically" superior.

It said Investindustrial had agreed a technical partnership deal with Daimler AG's (DAIGn.DE) Mercedes.

Investindustrial, owned by Italy's Bonomi family, is not new luxury motor brands. In 2006, t bought Italian motorcycle maker Ducati and sold it for about 860 million euros last April to Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE) Audi division.

(Additional reporting by Amran Abocar in Dubai; Editing by Lisa Jucca and Leslie Gevirtz)