Confirmed: Audi to Acquire Ducati

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Ducati Sale Confirmed

After weeks of speculation, the rumors are finally laid to rest – Audi AG will acquire Ducati Motor Holding.

As expected, this news arrived Wednesday after the supervisory boards of Audi and parent company Volkswagen approved the purchase in Hamburg, Germany.

Audi will now acquire the Bologna-based motorcycle manufacturer from the Milan-based private-equity owner, Investindustrial.

Representatives at Audi AG say the transaction will be completed “as quickly as possible once authorized by the competition authorities.” Basically, the acquisition is subjected to antitrust clearance before anything is 100-percent solidified; this process is expected to take a few months.

There’s no official word of what price Audi will pay, but various reports say $1.13 Billion (860 Euro).

Following the sale, Ducati will be the third Italian company under Audi leadership, and will soon reside next to renowned Supercar brands Lamborghini and Italdesign.

Rupert Stadler (Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG) says: “Ducati is known worldwide as a premium brand among motorcycle manufacturers and has a long tradition of building sporty motorcycles.

“It has great expertise in high-performance engines and lightweight construction, and is one of the world’s most profitable motorcycle manufacturers. That makes Ducati an excellent fit for Audi.”

As for profits, Ducati generated revenue of $629.8 million (€480 million) in 2011. Ducati reports it sold around 42,200 motorcycles in 2011 compared to 35,300 in 2006, the year Ducati was acquired by Investindustrial S.p.A.

The 2011 sales year was also Ducati’s best ever, with sales up 43-percent over 2010. Much of the positive results can be attributed to the management team led by CEO Gabriele Del Torchio. Under Torchio’s guidance, Ducati released 17 new models, including the Multistrada 1200 in 2010, the Diavel in 2011, and the 1199 Panigale and Streetfighter 848 in 2012.

And under Audi’s guidance, Torchio expects even more progress.

Gabriele Del Torchio says: “I am confident that the Audi Group will allow Ducati to continue strengthening its position in markets around the world. The announcement confirms the positive reinforcement of Ducati made in 2006 under the control of the Investindustrial Group.”

With the purchase, Audi says Ducati, which employs around 1100 people, will provide “extensive know-how in lightweight construction.” This knowledge will be advantageous to Audi AG and the Volkswagen Group, allowing for further globalization.

Peter Mosch (Chairman of the General Works Council of AUDI AG) says: “We must use the opportunities offered by globalization for Audi – and that’s exactly what we’re doing. Everyone at Audi is looking forward to working with our new colleagues from Ducati.”

Andrea C. Bonomi, Chairman of Investindustrial, also says the acquisition will provide greater globalization for the Ducati brand.

Andrea C. Bonomi says: “Ducati has thrived with us as a result of the intensive industrial turnaround and the commercial push into new, fast-growing markets. We are convinced that the company will continue to provide a bright and rewarding future to its customers and employees in the very capable hands of Audi. We believe that Audi is the best partner to continue the globalization process that has already been successfully initiated.

“The management team, led by Gabriele Del Torchio, and the Ducati’s skilled and passionate workforce have been a key element in turning the company into a global brand with some of the most exciting motorcycle models currently on the market.

“I am convinced Audi will be a responsible new owner, preserving the Italian workforce’s technology skills for a bright future for the Company. Ducati has a loyal and growing customer base, which will be well looked after thanks to Audi and Volkswagen Group’s global presence and engineering excellence.

The idea of Audi buying Ducati derives from “Project Eagle,” which was designed by Ferdinand Piech of the Volkswagen Group. The idea behind “Project Eagle” is for the German Volkswagen Group to buy a distinguished motorcycle company, and for a while there were talks of reviving the former German motorcycle company Horex, which manufactured singles and twins from 1936 – 1956.

But due to the recent partnership between Ducati and the German-based Mercedes-Benz (think AMG Ducati Diavel), a rival to the Volkswagen Group, it appears there’s much more incentive at play to purchase Ducati.

Then there’s also Audi’s rival BMW, which receives much praise in the superbike market with its 193-horsepower BMW S1000RR. With Audi owning Ducati, the 1199 Panigale vs. S1000RR rivalry will be even stronger.

Stay clicked to UltimateMotorCycling.com for all updates regarding the sale of Ducati to European car giant Audi.