Ducati Ownership Changes, Again

Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. is to be absorbed by Performance Motorcycles S.p.A., an investment vehicle formed in April by three of the OEM's main shareholders.

Ducati leadership says a draft of the merger plan will be drawn up and subsequently approved by the board of directors in September. The merger will cause the delisting of Ducati by the end of the year, the OEM said in a prepared statement.

In March, Ducati shareholders Investindustrial, BS Investimenti and Hospitals of Ontario Pension Plan (HOPP) announced they intended to launch a €390.8 million ($579 million) bid to purchase the 70 percent of the motorcycle manufacturer they didn't already own. They planned to fund about 50 percent of the bid, with the remainder financed by bank Intesa Sanpaolo SpA. At the time, Private equity firm Investindustrial owned 15.6 percent of Ducati Motor Holding, SpA; Canadian pension fund HOPP owned 7.4 percent; and BS Investimenti held about 7 percent.

The three shareholders initially offered to pay a maximum of €1.70 per share if all Ducati shareholders tender their shares of issued capital. Now, Ducati shares' settlement value has been fixed at €1.637 per share.

The Ducati board appointed Mediobanca S.p.A. as a financial advisor, tapped to examine the formal proposal. The deal has been approved by CONSOB — Italy's official body for regulating and supervising companies and stock exchanges.

Ducati achieved a net profit of €13.3 million in 2007, up from a debt of €8.5 million in 2006. The company's motorcycle shipments climbed 18.7 percent to 38,365 bikes, and unofficial worldwide registrations grew 16.2 percent to 40,789 units. Ducati's bike shipments to North America rose 22.3 percent, from 8,269 in 2006 to 10,110 in 2007; unofficial registration figures for Ducatis in North America rose similarly by 22.4 percent, from 8,186 in 2006 to 10,019 last year.