Audi to buy Ducati, Reuters reports

Publish Date: 
Apr 17, 2012

Citing anonymous sources, Reuters reported today that Volkswagen’s Audi unit has decided to buy Ducati from Investindustrial for about 860 million euros ($1.12 billion) including debt.

According to the news agency, the deal allows VW chairman Ferdinand Piech, who owns a Ducati superbike, to make up for a missed opportunity nearly 30 years ago to buy the OEM.

One source told Reuters that Ducati's debt was well below 200 million euros in an acquisition some analysts said lacks obvious benefits for Audi other than adding to its stable of exotic nameplates, which includes Lamborghini and Bugatti.

One analyst quoted by Reuters called the acquisition “an unnecessary sideshow” to VW’s automotive challenges.

Ducati will increase the VW group's brand portfolio to 12 and extend Audi's long-standing rivalry with BMW to superbikes, Reuters noted.

"The purchase does have a trophy feel to it, in the sense of something you might mount up on the wall next to the stag you shot last year," an auto industry analyst told the news agency.

A Barclays Capital analyst said the deal showed just how much VW's 17 billion euros in cash was burning a hole in its pocket. VW’s business generates nearly 8 billion euros in free cash every year, he said.

Bloomberg also reported today that the sale to Audi was imminent, citing an anonymous source.

Posted by Arlo Redwine

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