Ducati: Up for Sale or IPO?

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Motorcycle Industry News

The private-equity owner of Ducati Motor Holding SpA, the Milan-based Investindustrial, may either sell the Italian company to a rival or offer an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in Hong Kong, various business publications reported Monday.

As for selling, Investindustrial’s Chairman Andrea Bonomi told the Financial Times that US and European companies are interested in buying Ducati, which would be sold for up to $1.32 billion, three times the private-equity owner’s initial investment.

The Financial Times reports that possible buyers may include Volkswagen, BMW or the Indian motorcycle group Mahindra; in a Bloomberg report, Harley-Davidson was also mentioned as a possible fit according to people “familiar with the matter.” Representatives from each company did not comment Monday.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Bonomi said “Ducati is now a perfect company but the further growth it requires needs the support of a world-class industrial partner. This year, we will work towards that partner.”

If Ducati Motor Holding decides to offer an intial offering in Hong Kong, possible prospects to manage the IPO are reportedly Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs and Banca IMI of Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, and the IPO may occur as early as June.

In December of 2008, Ducati became a privately-owned company after it was delisted from the Milan stock exchange after a buyout by Investindustrial; Ducati was public from 1996 through 2008.

This news arrives after Ducati reported that 2011 sales were up 43-percent over 2010, with much attribution going to the Multistrada and Diavel.

In 2012, Ducati says it will refocus its efforts in the sportbike category with the first customer deliveries of the brand’s newest flagship Superbike, the Ducati 1199 Panigale and the 848EVO Corse Special Edition.

Ducati North America also announced the launch of a new retail identity initiative aimed at enhancing the Ducati customer experience.