Formula One team owner eyes Aston Martin stake – reports

Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, owner of Formula One team Racing Point, is preparing a bid for a major stake in Aston Martin, Reuters reported, citing England's Autocar magazine.

Stroll, the father of Formula One driver Lance Stroll, is heading up a consortium looking to take a "major shareholding" in the British company, Autocar and the racefans.net website reported.

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

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

As the car industry consolidates through deals such as the Peugeot-Fiat merger, Aston has said it does not need to belong to a bigger automotive group, pointing to the success of stand-alone rival Ferrari.

But the sale of a stake could help boost the company's prospects as it seeks to turn around a poor performance, which pushed it to a GBP92.3m (US$118.4m) loss in the first nine months of the year, Reuters said.

In August, Aston's biggest investor, Strategic European Investment Group, acquired an additional 3% stake in the company.

A month later, Aston raised $150m in debt at 12% interest, hiking its borrowing costs, to bolster its balance sheet for the launch of its DBX sports utility vehicle next year, with the option for another $100m.

The company's hopes rest on almost doubling sales with its first SUV, which enters production in 2020, particularly by attracting more female buyers to the brand.

Daimler also has a small stake in Aston, Reuters noted.

The news agency said Stroll, a collector of vintage Ferraris, has been involved in Formula One and motor racing for years and also owns Canada's Mont Tremblant circuit in Quebec.

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