AUDI is considering the acquisiton of Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati and is expected to make a decision by the end of April.
Audi, who are owned by Volkswagen AG, have laid their beach towel out on the sunlounger of Ducati and have the right of first refusal. They are considering the total price of 850 million Euros (£715m), which would include around 800 million Euros worth of liabilities (£670m). The firm are thought to be carrying out due diligence, a sign they are serious about the deal.
This could be a dream buy for Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech, who tried to buy Ducati in 2008 but lost out to current owners Investindustrial. Car magazine have reported that the deal would be part of Project Eagle, Piech's plan to buy luxury car brands, such as Lamborghini, Porsche and Bugatti and also add a motorcycle manufacturer to the group.
Hero MotoCorp Ltd, the largest motorcycle manufacturer in India have also expressed an interested in Ducati, however Hero would only get a chance to bid if Audi decided to pull out.
Mercedes, who with AMG have recently entered a contra-deal with Ducati would likely be sidelined if the Audi deal were to go ahead.
What is strange about the supposed deal is that it wouldn't be Audi buying Ducati, as they're wholly owned by VW with VW supplying the money and VW making the decision, which makes it a VW purchase. We can't see why it's being dressed up as an Audi purchase but those are the rumours flying around the automotive and investment industries.