Aston Martin Is Planning To Go Public
Images courtesy of Aston Martin
While Tesla works on reigning in its boss’s tweets in the aftermath of the will they or won’t they go private episode, another manufacturer is working on the opposite move, and they seem to have their ducks all lined up and ready. Aston Martin recently announced plans for an IPO, (they would float on the London Stock Exchange with an initial valuation of roughly $6.4B), which would make the company one of the first British automakers to achieve the feat in some time—Lotus is owned by a Chinese company, Jaguar by an Indian one, and Bentley and Rolls are both in the hands of the Germans.
Speaking of Germans, AMG supplies engines to Aston as of late (starting with the V8s in the DB11, which they apparently tuned to sound “more like an Aston Martin”), and since they recently bought some stake in the British company many are curious about their response to the IPO should it come to fruition. Partnership in peril? Probably not, but with the all-but-guaranteed increase in tariffs and other import costs that come with leaving the EU (Brexit), it will be interesting to see what Mercedes-AMG’s reaction will be considering they recently increased their stake in Aston in conjunction with the powertrain partnership.
Timing-wise, it looks both appropriate and a little ambitious for Aston to go public. Last year was the first profitable one since 2010 for the British luxury brand (they aren’t only into cars anymore, if the personal aircraft concepts and existing branded luxury apartments are any indicator), so financially things look to be moving in the right general direction and it could be a good time to capitalize on the recent success with a strong initial sale price, but it might be hard to find stakeholder support for some of their more “out there” concepts like the Triton-Aston personal submersible when you need to answer to Joe Car-Guy and his shares of common stock.
Then again, it’s not like the major holders won’t be funds and other companies, so perhaps we could see an increased frequency of collaborations between the Bond car manufacturer and other luxury brands. What do you think about this move? Is it a wise decision for a storied brand that’s been on the brink a few times? Will this give them a stronger footing and more security in the future, or does this lead us down the path toward the lowest common denominator wherein it’s all crossovers and SUVs on the horizon? Maybe they should just issue some bonds…