Ducati is in debt. Audi has money. Acquisition? A real possibility.
Audi, the German automaker, has just procured an exclusive deal allowing them the first option on purchasing debt-ridden Italian superbike company Ducati. According to a report by CAR, Audi has until April to reach an agreement to purchase the company currently with €200 million worth of debt. The possible purchase of a motorcycle company is another facet of Audi's, or more accurately, Volkswagen Group's Project Eagle.
VW Group head Ferdinand Piech has made a point of purchasing a major motorcycle company with brand recognition and the Bologna-based bike manufacturer would certainly fit the bill. Ducati currently produces around 40,000 motorcycles and Audi is facing stiff competition in the form of Indian companies Mahindra and Hero as well as Daimler. It should take roughly €250 million to €300 million to get the deal done, though CAR reports that the German brand may put down only €50 million to €100 million and absorb Ducati's substantial debts and liabilities.
Ducati chairman Andrea Bonomi has said that he views 'Ducati as the two-wheel equivalent of Audi.' If Audi agrees, then we should have a done deal to report to you by next month.