Pininfarina goes east: design house bought by Indian tech giant Mahindra

Published: 14 December 2015

► Tech Mahindra buys controlling stake
► Pininfarina now in Indian hands
► Takeover deal reportedly worth £122m

Indian conglomerate Mahindra Group has bought a controlling stake worth £122 million in Italian design house Pininfarina, after the debt-riddled agency fell out of family ownership. 

The Mumbai-based company has acquired 76% of Pininfarina shares from Pincar S.r.l at a price quoted of €1.1 per share. The deal has been in progress since spring 2015, it has emerged.

Mahindra is a huge Indian conglomerate, involved in everything from IT services to making basic cars and scooters. Its Tech Mahindra networking and engineering division and Mahindra & Mahindra vehicle wing have teamed up to buy the fabled Italian agency.

Click here for the greatest cars ever made by Pininfarina.

Why is Mahindra buying Pininfarina? 

It’s rather like Tata buying Jaguar Land Rover all over again - booming Indian businesses are keen to tap into European experience in premium vehicles, and Pininfarina has a long track record of working with some of the swankiest names around: Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot and Maserati, to name but four. It can go solo with dramatic effect, too - witness the Sergio concept car from 2013 (below).

The 2013 Pininfarina Sergio concept car

The agency has a revered 85-year history, but has struggled to operate as an independent concern in recent years. Now it will join forces with Tech Mahindra’s product conceptualisation, design and styling operations in Europe, the US, Asia and around the world. The Indians already have presence in 90 countries and 780 customers.

Pininfarina stays in charge

Pininfarina will remain an independent company listed on the Milan Stock Exchange and family scion Paolo Pininfarina will continue as chairman of its board, the company announced today. Expect a rights issue to raise extra funds to develop the business before the end of 2016.

Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group, said: ‘Pininfarina will add enormous value to Tech Mahindra's portfolio of engineering services. But just as important is the fact that the legendary high-end design credentials of Pininfarina will significantly enhance the design capabilities of the entire Mahindra Group. Given the increasing design sensibilities of today’s consumers, product design will greatly influence customer choice and experience, and hence our success.’

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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