Ford sells Aston Martin

Ford today officially announced the sale of Aston Martin to an investment group lead by Prodrive founder and chairman David Richards. The deal -- expected to close during the second quarter -- is valued at $925 million, the company said. Ford plans to retain a small $77 million stake in Aston.

The new owner of Aston Martin is a consortium comprised of: David Richards, founder and chairman of Prodrive, a world-leading motorsport and automotive technology company; John Sinders, an avid Aston Martin collector and a backer of Aston Martin Racing; and Investment Dar and Adeem Investment Co, international investment companies headquartered in Kuwait.

CEO Dr Ulrich Bez will remain in charge of Aston Martin.

Ford announced in August it intended to sell the company in order to raise capital. In November, it was reported Aston Martin would likely become an independent car company, since no major automaker expressed an interest in acquiring the marquee.

Rumors that Aston Martin would be been sold to luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton (LVMH) surfaced earlier this year, and were promptly shot down as "absolute rubbish."

Prodrive revealed a tuning package for the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. The company tuned the 4.3 litre V8 engine to raise peak power from 380 hp to 425 hp, as well as increasing peak torque from 302 lb/ft to 325 lb/ft. This reduces the car's 0-62 mph time from 5.0 secs to 4.7 secs (est).