Audi is on the verge of buying debt-ridden Ducati, Car magazine reports. The Italian superbike maker is currently some €200m in the red and up for sale. There are several interested parties, including India’s Mahindra and Hero, Daimler and, perhaps a little strange, Volkswagen too.
You’ll recall Mercedes-Benz has a marketing/sponsorship deal with Ducati and on the surface it would make sense if the two companies made their association stronger. However, Audi has struck a deal with Ducati that gives them first right of refusal to buy.
An internal Audi team titled Project Eagle has been charged with managing the Ducati deal and is currently assessing the suitability of the buyout. It’s believed Audi will pick a number between €50–100m and won’t be drawn into an informal bidding war. A mid-April timeline is expected for the takeover to be finalised.
Volkswagen Group’s leader Ferdinand Piech is the man behind Project Eagle and he has coveted Ducati for some time. It’s reported Piech regrets not buying Ducati in 2008 when it was on the brink of bankruptcy. He hasn’t had to wait long to for a second bite at the cherry.