By Bennett Oghifo
Mercedes-Benz AG and Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings plc (“Aston Martin”) have announced a new strategic technology agreement and an enhanced partnership.
The new agreement will see Mercedes-Benz AG grant access to a range of advanced Mercedes-Benz technologies, including next generation hybrid and electric powertrains, as well as other vehicle components and systems, according to a statement by the automaker.
“Access to these technologies will be granted in exchange for new shares in Aston Martin, issued in several stages over the next 3 years, up to a total value of GBP 286 million. Mercedes-Benz AG’s current shareholding stands at 2.6% of Aston Martin’s common equity. The new shares to be issued will take Mercedes-Benz AG’s holding up to a maximum of no more than 20.0%. Mercedes-Benz AG has no intention to increase its holding in Aston Martin beyond this level,” the statement said.
Wolf-Dieter Kurz, Head of Product Strategy at Mercedes-Benz Cars, said: “We already have a successful technology partnership in place with Aston Martin that has benefited both companies. With this new expanded partnership we will be able to provide Aston Martin with access to new cutting-edge technologies and components, including next generation hybrid and electric drive systems. The supply arrangements for these new technologies will be on agreed commercial terms. We look forward to continuing to work together with Aston Martin and we wish the company every success in its next stage of growth.”
In 2013, Mercedes-Benz AG and Aston Martin entered into a strategic cooperation for the supply of AMG V8 engines and the supply of components for the E/E (electrical) architecture. In return, Mercedes-Benz AG received an equity participation of 5% in Aston Martin. Following Aston Martin’s IPO in 2018 and various further financing rounds, Mercedes-Benz AG now owns a 2.6% stake.
Key terms of the new agreement
During 2020, negotiations regarding the expansion of the existing cooperation were initiated. In a first step, Aston Martin requested access to certain engines and powertrains as well as powertrain software, E/E architecture and various other components. Mercedes-Benz AG has agreed to provide such technology access to Aston Martin in exchange for additional new shares in Aston Martin, which will be allotted to Mercedes-Benz AG by means of a Contribution in Kind (“CiK”). The arrangement will not involve any cash consideration from Mercedes-Benz AG. The supply of the systems and components will be on arm’s length terms
A total CiK value of GBP 286 million will be required to achieve the maximum agreed shareholding of 20.0% in Aston Martin. Mercedes-Benz AG has no intention to increase its holding beyond this level. The new shares shall be issued to Mercedes-Benz AG in several tranches by 2023, tied to the release of various technology packages.
The main terms and conditions for the first technology package and share tranche have already been agreed. The value for the Tranche 1 technology is GBP 140 million. The shares to be issued to Mercedes-Benz AG in return for Tranche 1 technology will increase Mercedes-Benz AG’s shareholding to 11.8%. For further tranches, the parties need to agree upon the scope of the technology to be made available to Aston Martin, the respective value (“entry fees”) and the piece prices of components and systems.
The planned continuation and enhancement of the cooperation with Aston Martin will result in further sales of components and systems for Mercedes-Benz AG, as well as the potential upside of any increase in the value of the enlarged shareholding in Aston Martin.