Car maker Audi is lining up to buy Ducati, with reports claiming that Audi has an “exclusivity” deal on the Italian brand.
Ducati, which has recently attracted takeover interest from India’s Mahindra & Hero motorcycles, Daimler, AMG and Volkswagen, is reportedly set to be bought by Audi according to sources at Car magazine.
Audi, part of the Volkswagen Automotive Group, has been looking to acquire a motorcycle brand as part of a business strategy codenamed “Project Eagle”. VAG had previously looked into purchasing Horex, a German motorbike firm which made single- and twin-cylinder bikes from 1936 to 1956, but pulled out given the lack of brand recognition.
Ducati, which makes around 40,000 motorcycles a year at its Bologna factory, currently has liabilities of around €800m and it is reported that any takeover would be worth around €850m, with Audi absorbing the company’s debts along with a €50m cash injection. Audi advisors are thought to be going through due diligence on the deal.
In 2008, Ferdinand Piech, chairman of Volkswagen Group, said it was a mistake not to have bought Ducati when the company was on the brink of bankruptcy before.