Ducati‘s former owner Investindustrial is ready for its next big acquisition, reportedly submitting a bid to acquire a stake in Aston Martin. Investindustrial is reportedly competing against Indian car and motorcycle maker Mahindra & Mahindra for the stake in the British car company probably best known for its association with the fictional spy James Bond.

According to Bloomberg, Investindustrial has submitted an offer of nearly 250 million British pounds (US$400.7 million) for a 40% equity stake and 50% control of voting rights for Aston Martin. Investindustrial sold its stake in Ducati to Audi earlier this year for  747 million euros (about US$919.1 million, at the time), so it should have the cash to cover its bid for Aston Martin. However, Mahindra & Mahindra, which entered the Indian two-wheeler market in 2008 by acquiring Kinetic Motor Company Limited, reportedly offered more money and is favored to win.

The Investindustrial bid however does have one advantage. It comes with plans to use technology from AMG, the performance arm of Mercedes-Benz. Aston Martin used to be owned by Ford and continues to use Ford engines, but it lost access to a lot of Ford’s resources following the previous sale. The inclusion of AMG technology would help fill that void but it still may not be enough to top Mahindra’s higher bid.

Aston Martin’s current majority owner, Investment Dar, acquired 90% of Aston Martin from Ford in 2007 for £479 million. The Kuwaiti investment group is in financial trouble however, leading to the impending sale. Officially, Investment Dar has denied it is in talks with either suitors, though both Bloomberg and Reuters site sources saying talks are well under way.

[Source: Reuters, Bloomberg via The Washington Post]