Mercedes & Aston Martin
Dow Jones MarketWatch.com is reporting that representatives of Dar, the investment entity based in Kuwait which owns half of Aston-Martin has been in talks with Daimler, most recently entertaining Daimler representatives in Kuwait this past Tuesday. Reportedly, Aston-Martin representatives will be visiting Daimler headquarters in Stuttgart shortly. As reported, this is to continue the discussions begun last week.
Other than the generalized idea that the talks concern “common investment opportunities,” there has been no indication what the talks might be about.
Though the Dow Jones story has assumed that it is cooperation between Mercedes-Benz and Aston-Martin that is under discussion, that isn’t necessarily the only inference to be drawn. Daimler is no stranger to Mid-East investment. The country of Kuwait is Daimler’s largest shareholder, with stock totaling 7% of the company. The United Arab Emirates owns another 2%. Dar is the largest private investment company in the Mid-East, with $15 billion in assets. It would, therefore, be possible that Dar could be considering a direct investment in Daimler.
On the other hand, having the friendly government of Kuwait owning 7% of Daimler certainly gives Dar an opening when asking Daimler for assistance with the Aston-Martin line-up. Aston’s products are direct competitors for the Mercedes-Benz models in the higher echelons of the sport and grand touring car markets, and there wouldn’t seem much that Mercedes could gain from cooperation with Aston.
Look for Aston to be getting an edge in acquiring technology developed by Daimler.