Cash-strapped Ford Motor has sold a controlling stake in the Aston Martin brand, made famous by its exotic sports cars in James Bond movies, raising $848 million to help fund its turnaround plan.
Aston Martin now will be run by a consortium of investors, including racing mogul David Richards, John Sinders and Kuwaiti firms of Investment Dar and Adeem Investment.
Ford officials announced the sale Monday at Aston Martin's headquarters in Gaydon, England. The sale is expected to close in the second quarter.
Ford will retain a $77 million stake in the company. That values all of Aston Martin at $925 million.
Dearborn-based Ford, which lost $12.7 billion last year and expects losses to continue until 2009, put Aston Martin up for sale last August.
Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally said the sale supports the company's turnaround plan, which involves cutting factory capacity and rolling out new cars and trucks at a faster pace.
"From Aston Martin's point of view, the sale will provide access to additional capital, which will allow Aston Martin to continue the growth it has experienced under Ford's stewardship," Mulally said in a statement.
Richards is founder and chairman of Prodrive, a racing and automotive technology company with long-standing ties to Aston Martin. Sinders is an Aston Martin collector and racing backer, while Investment Dar and Adeem Investment are international companies based in Kuwait, Ford said.