Audi has completed a due diligence assessment of Ducati and will proceed with the acquisition process next week, according to several sources. They also said that Audi didn’t meet any obstacles while it was reviewing the books of the Italian motorcycle maker. It’s believe that the purchase would be announced on April 18 at the earliest, one day before the annual meeting of the VW's annual shareholders in Hamburg.
A source said that Italian buyout firm Investindustrial, the main shareholder of Ducati, had agreed to negotiate with just Audi. So far, none of the companies have released a statement about this event. If Audi completes the deal, it will then be able to compete with BMW in the superbike segment. This will also raise its expertise in high-revving light engines and will boost VW's engineering portfolio, ranging from cars and heavy trucks and even to ship engines.
A report from Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera also indicated that the signing of the contract between Ducati and Audi will take place next week. Citing no sources, the paper said that Audi holds the right to negotiate exclusively until April 15, after which Investindustrial may enter talks with other possible buyers. It can be recalled that in 2005, Audi made an attempt to purchase Ducati from former owner Texas Pacific Group but it was beaten by rival bidder Investindustrial.
Since the Ducati was founded in 1926, it had won 17 manufacturer's World Championship titles. Its most recent achievement was taking the 2011 World Superbike Championship title. Last February, Investindustrial's chairman Andrea Bonomi told The Financial Times that the company was looking to sell Ducati. And just last month, Corriere della Sera also cited that the price may be around 850 million euros ($1.1 billion), which include acquired debt of 800 million.
No details of the acquisition have been released so far. Ducati's engine technology is expected to add a new development dimension for Audi. The brand’s headquarters have turned into a key research and development center for lightweight fuel saving technologies. In addition, Audi has been the owner of Lamborghini since 1998 and they both are seeking to produce lighter vehicles by expanding the share of carbon fiber components in them. [source: Autonews]