We had bought to you the news that the Italian motorcycle company, Ducati was up for grabs, and in the chase were German automakers, AMG & VW. We also saw the Indian giant, Mahindra & Mahindra and Hero MotoCorp taking interest in the deal. Well, now it seems another German is up in the list of possible suitors of Ducati.
According to reports by England’s Car Magazine, the Italian motorcycle company may end up with yet another German, the VW owned Audi. And it seems they have already signed the agreements which makes them the first contender on owning the company. However, Audi has time until mid April to finalize the deal before the contract gets void.
Sources suggest Audi AG could pay €50-100 ($65.6-131.1) million for Ducati, and absorb approximately €800 million ($1 billion) worth liabilities, significantly less than what its owner is hoping to get.
Audi has previously announced its interest to enter the motorcycle segment, and with this deal, it is just taking a step closer to fulfill its ambition. Car magazine have reported that the deal would be part of Project Eagle, Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech’s plan to buy luxury car brands, such as Lamborghini, Porsche and Bugatti and also add a motorcycle manufacturer to the group.
Keeping aside the debts, Ducati has a pretty strong repo in the auto world, similar to that of Audi. A while ago, Andrea Bonomi, Ducati’s owner, called the Italian motorcycle as the Audi of motorcycle world. Where on one hand Audi has its R8 supercar, Ducati has the 1199 Panigale S to its motorcycle lineup.
Incase things don’t work out for the Italian motorcycle company and Andrea Bonomi is unable to sell Ducati to a private company, Investindustrial, a Milan-based private equity company, may hold an initial public offering of Ducati in Hong Kong this year or sell it to a rival.
Ducati disclosed its sales figure with 40,000 units sold in the year 2011, which gives it about 9% of the global sports motorcycle market. The company is seemingly doing bad, and its debt is about 1.7 times its earnings, excluding the interest. We can just wait and watch if Audi goes for it all or its parent company VW sweeps away the Italian motorcycle marque.