► Stroll gets 20% stake in Aston
► £500m raised altogether
► Name could be in F1 in 2021
Lawrence Stroll has moved to buy a majority stake in Aston Martin’s road car division - a decision that's bound to have big implications both in the car industry and the F1 championship.
A consortium led by billionaire Lawrence Stroll – who already has a stake in the Racing Point team and is the father of their driver Lance Stroll – will put £182m down to ‘rescue’ the Gaydon brand. That’s a 20% stake, and part of a £500m package.
Stroll will also become executive chairman following the move, behind 20% of the brand, and will replace Penny Hughes once the deal is completed.
Despite a range of new product reveals, from Valkyrie and Valhalla to a new Vantage AMR and forthcoming DBX SUV, Aston Martin has not had the performance it expected. With more projects to come - namely the arrival of the Lagonda brand - Aston needed liquidity to make up for its less than expected return; annual earnings for the company are expected to be £130m to £140m, around £100m less than the year before.
‘The difficult trading performance in 2019 resulted in severe pressure on liquidity which has left the company with no alternative but to seek substantial additional equity financing,’ Hughes admitted. ‘Without this, the balance sheet is not robust enough to support the operations of the group.
‘Notwithstanding recent weak trading, the strength of the Aston Martin brand and our expanding portfolio of cars has allowed us to attract a strong new partner in Mr Stroll to support the turnaround of the business.’
The F1 fallout
Stroll’s ownership has also coincided with the termination of the title partnership between Aston Martin and the Red Bull outfit. In a statement on its website; Red Bull confirmed: ‘It had agreed to release Aston Martin from its Formula One exclusivity clause which in turn has allowed it to generate the necessary investment required to re-finance and pursue alternative opportunities within the sport.’
That also confirms a possible rebranding of the new Racing Point team to something along the lines of Aston Martin Racing Point.
What about the model line-up?
Don’t worry, the hypercar is still going ahead as planned, with the backing of both companies. In the same statement, Red Bull stated that it would ‘continue to work with Aston Martin in order to deliver the Valkyrie hypercar, with the first cars scheduled for delivery at the end of the year.’
The Valhalla, however, will likely appear in 2022, and the electric Lagonda project will now be shown in five years' time.