Regulators reject suspicions of insider trading in Aston Martin and Daimler shares

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Insider trading updates

Financial regulators have looked into suspicions of insider trading in Daimler and Aston Martin shares, including the purchase of a stake in the UK luxury carmaker by Toto Wolff, Mercedes’s Formula One boss.

BaFin, the German markets watchdog, said it had looked into trading at Daimler and also passed information to counterparts at the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority regarding trading in Aston Martin shares.

BaFin said it had not found evidence to proceed with an investigation. The FCA declined to comment. A person familiar with the matter said the FCA had not pursued an investigation.

Some of the regulatory actions were first reported by Canadian newspaper Le Journal de Montréal.

Wolff, who owns about a third of the Mercedes team, which has won the F1 motor racing championships for seven consecutive seasons, bought shares in Aston Martin in April 2020.

Daimler, the Frankfurt-listed parent company of Mercedes, also owns a minority stake in Aston Martin.

Wolff purchased a 0.95 per cent stake in Aston Martin from a vehicle controlled by Lawrence Stroll, the UK carmaker’s executive chair.

The following month, Aston Martin appointed Tobias Moers, the former head of Mercedes’ high-performance AMG business, as its chief executive. In late October, Daimler said it would increase its stake in Aston Martin to 20 per cent from less than 5 per cent. Daimler has owned Aston Martin shares since 2013.

Mercedes F1 said Wolff had not been aware of either plan when he acquired the shares and that “all relevant disclosures were made to the UK financial authorities at the appropriate time”. Wolff did not acquire or trade any Daimler shares or securities last year, Mercedes said.

Aston Martin shares have increased by more than two-thirds to £19.62 each since April 17 last year, giving it a value by market capitalisation of more than £2.2bn. Wolff’s stake is now worth £13.9m, according to S&P Global Intelligence.

Aston Martin, the carmaker, is separate to the F1 team that bears its name. Canadian billionaire Stroll owns Aston Martin F1 and led a consortium that rescued the carmaker last year. Mercedes supplies engines and gearboxes to the Aston Martin F1 team.

Daimler is set to reduce its shareholding in the Mercedes F1 team to a third later this year, following a deal under which Ineos, Jim Ratcliffe’s petrochemicals company, will acquire a third of the racing outfit.

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