Automotive News reports that Audi’s talks to purchase Italian motorcycle maker Ducati may have come to a conclusion. As early as April 18, it is believed that Audi plans to formally announce that it has acquired Ducati, according to two sources close to the matter. That is the day before Audi parent company Volkswagen AG’s annual shareholder’s meeting in Hamburg, Germany.
An exclusive arrangement
After talks with a variety of suitors, Ducati’s main shareholder, Italian buyout firm Investindustrial, decided to negotiate exclusively with Audi. India’s commercial utility vehicle company Mahindra and German automaker Mercedes-Benz were previously in the running, according to various reports. Mercedes-Benz had been thought to have an inside track, as its AMG performance division is already a marketing partner with Ducati.
Representatives from Investindustrial, Volkswagen and Audi have commented on what experts believe is Ducati’s impending sale. Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reports that Audi has the right to exclusive negotiation with Ducati until April 15, after which Investindustrial has the right to leave the table and pursue offers from other potential buyers.
Corriere della Sera also notes that Audi attempted to purchase Ducati in 2005 from then owner Texas Pacific Group. Investindustrial made a better offer.
The Financial Times reports that estimates from various sources pegged the sale price of Ducati at around $1.1 billion. That figure is almost entirely acquired debt, though. Thus, the actual sale price would be only $65 million, according to Bloomberg.
Winning the superbike war
Acquiring Ducati would no doubt add fuel to the long-standing rivalry between Audi and BMW. Ducati technology would also add to Volkswagen AG’s engineering portfolio of high-revving light engines. The technology scales to cars, heavy trucks and even ship engines, notes AOL Autoblog.
Audi’s Ingolstadt headquarters in Germany has specialized in lightweight, fuel-saving technologies. Experts believe Ducati’s engine technology will fit in nicely. Along with supercar property Lamborghini, Audi looks to continue production of lower weight vehicles that depend upon carbon fiber components.
Ducati – A winning tradition
Founded in 1926, Ducati was won 17 manufacturer’s World Championship titles over the past 60 years. In 2011, team Ducati won the World Superbike Championship title.