Following months of speculation, Indian automaker Mahindra confirmed Monday that it has reached an agreement to acquire renowned Italian design house Pininfarina. The deal is reportedly worth $28 million and gives Mahindra a 76 percent stake, with plans to propose future offers for the remaining 24 percent.
There are a lot of zeros in that check, but Mahindra paid just €1.1 per share. The bargain acquisition is significant for the Indian corporation, which hopes a boost in design and aesthetics will aid its wide range of subsidiaries, including Mahindra cars, to expand to global ventures.
"The legendary high-end design credentials of Pininfarina will significantly enhance the design capabilities of the entire Mahindra Group," said Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra in a statement. "Given the increasing design sensibilities of today's consumers, product design will greatly influence customer choice and experience, and hence our success."
According to Jalopnik, Anand Mahindra also harbors big ambitions to revitalize Pininfarina's legendary heritage. The company has a slew of iconic designs to its credit, including the Ferrari F40, Alfa Romeo Spider and Peugeot 404. But as automakers have moved towards in-house design talents, the role of independent firms and coachbuilders, like Pininfarina and now-defunct Gruppo Bertone, has diminished over the years.
Leveraging on the design house's history, Mahindra could relaunch Pininfarina as a standalone car brand and produce special vehicles under its name. It could be a year before official announcements, but there’s speculation that Pininfarina could design and build its own premium sport and luxury cars to compete against the likes of Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini.
Hopefully the best days of this illustrious design house have yet to come.