French luxury good group isn't the new owner of British sports car brand
2 February 2007

The French luxury goods maker that owns Louis Vuitton has issued a stinging rebuttal to internet rumours that the company is going to buy the Aston Martin sports car brand. A spokesperson for LVMH told Autocar that the rumour is “absolute rubbish". "There is no truth in this story whatsoever,” he went on.Sources with an involvement in the bidding process re-iterated that line: “the story is simply erroneous,” one told us.LVMH, a huge global outfit with annual sales of $14 billion, owns Moet & Chandon champagne, Glenmorangie scotch, TAG Heuer watches and the Louis Vitton fashion label. Further denying any interest, the spokesman said LVMH would not be the name revealed as Aston’s new owner in about one month’s time, when Ford and its advisors, London merchant bank UBS, will finish assessing the four concrete bids known to have been received for Aston.LVMH had shown interest last autumn along with about 25 other companies when Ford first put Aston Martin up for sale, but didn’t follow-up with a formal bid. “We didn’t even get to first base,” says the spokesman.According to the spokesman, an new investment fund co-owned by LVMH boss Bernard Arnault and a Belgian entrepreneur also looked at bidding, but similarly went no further when it realised Aston would cost over £400m – too high a price in its mind.Industry rumours also suggest that Aston Martin boss Ulrich Bez, the key figure in the post-sale future of the sports car maker thanks to his role as architect of Aston’s current revival, wasn’t keen on a new owner with zero automotive industry experience.

Julian Rendell

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