Breaking: Audi Enters Exclusive Deal with Ducati to Buy Italian Motorcycle Manufacturer
by, 03-12-2012 at 10:04 AM (19844 Views)
Out of nowhere CAR Magazine today has broken a story this morning that Audi entered an exclusive deal to buy motorcycle manufacturer Ducati. After re-checking our calendar to make sure it wasn't April 1, we took a closer look at the story. Penned by Georg Kacher, we don't question its accuracy in any way and as such it's worth considering the details.
Apparently Ducati is on the market and it's being suited by no less than Audi, Daimler (with whom there's a marketing deal with AMG), Mahindra and even Audi's parent company Volkswagen. All are interested in the Italian motorcycle manufacturer but Kacher is revealing via CAR that Audi has an exclusivity deal that gives it first refusal - one that could very well see Ducati under Audi ownership by April.
Apparently Ferdinand Piech has been interested in Ducati for some time and is on the record for stating his regret for not snapping up the motorcycle marque when it went up on the market years ago.
Apparently Piech also looked into revival of the Horex brand, but it was determined that there wasn't enough brand recognition to make it worthwhile. Ducati, on the other hand, sells 40,000 motorcycles a year and has great brand recognition worldwide.
One suggestion by Kacher why Ducati favors Audi is its brand positioning. Ducati chairman Andrea Bonomi is on the record stating 'Ducati is the two-wheel equivalent of Audi'. As a brand steward, Audi may likely be the best in the business for Bonomi.
There's also just a bit of motorcycle heritage at Audi. Look back past the one-off Audi 50-powered motorcycle prototype of the 70s and you'll see motorcycle brands with rich histories such as NSU and DKW. Audi also has its own outpost in Bologna with its Lamborghini unit, located just 25 km away from Ducati's own HQ.
Kacher suggests that a team of executives under the name 'Project Eagle' have begun to do their due diligence on the deal. Kacher estimates a price of €50m to €100m - low, but considering Audi will also have to assume the substantial debt of Ducati this explains the number. The actual price will be closer to €850m when you consider the debt burden.
Read more about this story via the CAR Magazine link below. We've also included a few Ducati links just in case you're curious.
CAR Magazine - Audi to Buy Ducati
Kilometer Magazine - Ducati Photo Galleries
Ducati.com - Official Website of Ducati