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Geely Takes 7.6 Percent Stake in Aston Martin

Li Shufu, founder of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, is quite the collector. He just acquired another “collectible,” taking a 7.6% stake in British luxury sports car maker Aston Martin. No numbers were offered, but the stake is valued at nearly $8.5 billion.

Mr. Li Shufu, chairman Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company
Geely Chairman Li Shufu added another company to his holdings, buying a 7.6% stake in Aston Martin.

Collector may be bit of an overstatement, but it’s the second auto brand Geely’s invested in this year and continues a trend of investments by what is China’s largest privately held auto company. 

“We look forward to exploring potential opportunities to engage and collaborate with Aston Martin as it continues to execute its strategy to achieve long term, sustainable growth and increased profitability,” said Daniel Donghui Li, Zhejiang Geely’s chief executive officer, in a statement.

Second time’s the charm

The move shouldn’t be a tremendous surprise. Geely’s founder reportedly nosed around Aston in January 2020. The British icon was in a bad way at the time, missing its full-year production forecast, its bond rating cut to junk status, and it couldn’t fund an ambitious product development program it previously announced.

Had Shufu pulled the trigger then, it would have been his third British company, joining Lotus and the London EV Co., which makes battery-electric versions of the famous London black cabs.

Volvo Car Group Chairman, CEO meet with the Prime Ministers of China and Belgium
Geely also holds a controlling stake in Volvo Cars.

A bit of a spendthrift

In May, Geely invested $207 million to garner a 34% stake in Renault Korea. While the move aided both parties — Aston benefits from Geely’s investment too as it could certainly use more capital as it faces a push into electrification — Geely’s move to get a share of Renault Korea was designed to give the company a launching pad to produce vehicles it can sell in the U.S.

The two companies announced in January they plan to develop a hybrid model, with Renault supplying the design. Renault Korea will handle technological development, and Geely will supply the hybrid system and the car’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform.

Part of a trend

Shufu’s got his finger in a lot of automotive pots, not just Renault Korea and now Aston. A few years back he suddenly became Daimler AG’s largest shareholder, buying a nearly 10% stake, and saying at the time he looked forward to working with Daimler on future partnerships.

He didn’t wait too long to make good on that, less than a year later swooping in at the last minute to form a 50-50 joint venture with the German auto company to save Smart. The companies moved the brand to a plant in China where it produces Smart EVs for China.

The big splash was made when he acquired Volvo Cars in a multibillion-dollar deal, moving production of the vehicles to China — and now the U.S. as well — but leaving the design and administration portion of the business in Sweden. Additionally, Geely owns Lynk & Co. as well as Proton.

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