Ssangyong Motor Co., South Korea's smallest automaker, said Tuesday it signed a 520 billion won (US$460 million) deal with Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. to sell a majority stake to the Indian utility vehicle maker.

The two companies announced the deal after India's Mahindra & Mahindra was named the preferred bidder for Ssangyong in August.

India's Mahindra & Mahindra will take a 70 percent stake in Ssangyong.  The takeover is likely to be financed through a combination of debt and internal accruals. 

The companies said they expect the deal to be completed in March 2011.  

The acquisition will help M&M build a global footprint as the Korean maker of the Rexton and Kyron SUVs also exports to Russia, Europe, China, and the Middle East.

The sale of Ssangyong stake comes nearly two years after the South Korean company was placed under court bankruptcy protection as its former Chinese parent, Shanghai Automotive Industry Group, abandoned it.