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Billionaire Lawrence Stroll seeks major stake in Aston Martin - report

Billionaire Lawrence Stroll seeks major stake in Aston Martin - report
FILE PHOTO: Aston Martin logo is pictured at the company's world headquarters in Gaydon, Britain, February 14, 2019. Picture taken February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Yates   -   Copyright  ANDREW YATES(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) – Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, owner of Formula One team Racing Point, is preparing a bid for a major stake in Aston Martin, Autocar magazine reported, sending the carmaker’s battered share price up nearly 15% on Thursday.

Aston Martin, the car of choice for fictional British secret agent James Bond, has seen its shares slump since its flotation in October last year as sales have failed to meet expectations.

Stroll, who is the father of Formula One driver Lance Stroll, is heading up a consortium looking to take a “major shareholding” in the British sports car maker, Autocar and the racefans.net website reported on Thursday.

Aston Martin declined to comment and Racing Point said Stroll was unavailable for comment.

Racefans.net reported that Racing Point could be rebranded as Aston Martin if Stroll succeeded in taking a controlling stake.

Aston Martin’s shares were up nearly 15% at 5.79 pounds at 1148 GMT, still far below their IPO price of 19 pounds.

Stroll, a collector of vintage Ferrari sportscars, has been involved in Formula One and motor racing for years and also owns Canada’s Mont Tremblant circuit in Quebec.

He made his money through investing in fashion brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors but came to wider prominence in motor racing circles after bankrolling his son’s career.

Lance Stroll, 21, moved to Racing Point from Williams this season after a consortium led by his father bought the Force India team, which was co-owned by financially troubled Indian magnate Vijay Mallya and had fallen into administration.

The Silverstone-based team, who use Mercedes engines, finished seventh overall this season but are planning a factory expansion.

Aston Martin is title sponsor of the Honda-powered Red Bull team, former world champions who won three races this year with Dutch 22-year-old Max Verstappen, but Mercedes’ parent Daimler has a small stake in the carmaker.

Aston Martin will also be competing in the World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours with its Valkyrie hypercar from 2021.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas and Alan Baldwin; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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