Long rumored for sale by Investindustrial, Ducati will be purchased by Audi for a reported 860 million Euros.
A public announcement of the deal is expected at the Volkswagen Group shareholders meeting on Wednesday, April 18th. Audi is part of the Volkswagen Group, which owns outright or a major stake in a number of vehicle brands.
Volkswagen executive Ferdinand Piech has publicly expressed interest in acquiring a motorcycle brand. Ducati is the first motorcycle brand for the German conglomerate, which also owns fellow high-end Italian auto firms Bugatti and Lamborghini.
Ducati ownership has changed hands numerous times in its history. Before the Audi takeover bid, Ducati was rumored to be going public in an IPO. It was also linked with AMG / Mercedes Benz, with Ducati entering a “cooperation agreement” with the German auto maker in 2010 that saw marketing collaborations like the production of AMG branded Ducati Diavel.
The acquisition of Ducati gives Volkwagen/Audi a two-wheeled answer to its traditional rival BMW. The Bavarian manufacturer has always produced motorcycles with its BMW Motorrad division and in recent years acquired its own Italian bike maker in Husqvarna.
The Volkwagen Group’s purchase of Ducati continues an aggressive acquisition strategy. In recent years VW bought controlling interests in companies such as Swedish auto maker Scania AB and Germany’s MAN SE, both producers of heavy trucks. VW is also finalizing an on-again-off-again takeover of Porsche.
VW is currently embroiled in a disputed partnership with Suzuki. The German company had purchased 20% of the Japanese auto and motorcycle manufacturer. After disagreements pertaining to its collaboration, Suzuki wants VW to sell back its stake in the company, pursuing its case via arbitration.