$23.1M Deal for Aston Martin Vanquish Design Assets Killed After Chinese Buyer Falls Through

The large sum has since been written off by Aston Martin as "doubtful debt."

Aston Martin

Luxury automaker Aston Martin has written off $23.1 million (19 million British Pound Sterling) of "doubtful debt" in relation to the failed sale of the legacy Intellectual Property (IP) and tooling of its Vanquish supercar, according to a report from Automotive News Europe.

In late 2018, the automaker made the announcement ahead of its initial public offering on the United Kingdom stock market that it would sell the IP of the Vanquish along with its tooling to an unnamed third party for the sum of $26 million. Speculation arose across the industry of just who was behind the purchase, but nothing more was revealed aside from the buyer supposedly being a Chinese group. Instead, on July 31, Aston Martin announced that it would be writing off a doubtful debt related to the sale of legacy IP—reportedly, the Vanquish.

"[O]perating expenses were up as we’d planned," said Aston Martin Chief Financial Officer Mark Wilson during the automaker's first-half earnings call. "And these factors including the £19 million doubtful debt provision from the sale of legacy IP."

When contacted via email, an Aston Martin spokesperson confirmed the write-off of the debt to The Drive, but would not reveal further details regarding the nature of the IP write-off, including how it relates to the Vanquish and any third parties involved.

A contingency of the Vanquish's sale would be the inclusion of a contract for 18 months of support delivered via Aston Martin Consulting. This forward-looking income was registered as part of Aston Martin's second-quarter accounts in 2018. In late July, Aston initially reported that it would be writing off the debt in a revised trading outlook, stating that "the commercial position on [the] contract has deteriorated with significant doubt remaining over the outstanding receivable". It wasn't revealed that the debt was related to the sale of "legacy IP" until the earnings call.

The second-generation Aston Martin Vanquish was first introduced in 2012. Sporting two doors and an optional convertible top, the low-volume sports coupe packed a 565 horsepower Ford-sourced 5.9-liter V-12. Its successor, the DBS Superleggera, lives on in its memories.

On the plus side, if you had your eye on building an army of Vanquish grand tourers, your chance to make that dream come true can live on once again should Aston relist its IP on the market.