Audi Buying Only Part of Ducati? Daimler Bows Out

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More reports are starting to surface about Audi’s pending purchase of Ducati Motor Holding from Investindustrial. Said last month to have offered the private equity firm somewhere in the neighborhood of €750 million, Reuters is now reporting the figure to have been closer to the €870 million to €875 million range, which is closer to the original rumored offer of €850 million by the German automaker. What is most interesting in the report by Reuters is the notion that Audi is not making an offer to buy all of Investindustrial’s financial position in Ducati Motor Holding, which accounts for about 70% of the company.

Instead, Audi would seemingly be buying a controlling interest in the company, with Investindustrial reportedly looking to sell its remaining interest to another party. With rumors circulating that Daimler could be the second party to that purchase, the Stuttgart-based firm has denied any further interest in owning Ducati.  “We have no interest in a takeover of Ducati,” succinctly said a spokesman for Daimler in response to a report in Italy’s Corriere della Sera, which had suggested that the owner of Mercedes-Benz was looking at Ducati.

Despite AMG’s joint marketing effort with Ducati, Mercedes-Benz is said to have bowed out of the bidding on Ducati late last year, and it seems unreasonable to think of a situation where Daimler would co-invest with rival German car manufacturing group Volkswagen, who in turn owns Audi. With Daimler said to have passed on making a better offer to Investindustrial than Audi’s, it would seem the number of avenues for the Italian motorcycle company’s ownership are slowly converging to one path.

The news that Audi may not purchase all of Investindustrial’s position could still leave open the possibility for a public stock offering, though one has to ask the question whether Ducati is the right company to take its stock public. Even with the company selling exceptionally well last year and moving over 40,000 motorcycles worldwide, it still struggles with profitability at those volume figures.

Source: Reuters