Confirming earlier reports, Audi officially announced today that it has sealed a deal to acquire Italian sports motorcycle manufacture Ducati. The German company said that the transaction will be completed "as quickly as possible" once authorized by the competition authorities.
The brand with the four-rings did not say how much it cost to buy Ducati from its previous owner Investindustrial SpA, though sources stated on Tuesday that the Germans paid approximately €860 million or US$1.13 billion.
Following the announcement, Audi boss Rupert Stadler commented:
“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.”
Despite Stadler's optimism, analysts have questioned the move, as many believe that Ducati doesn't really have anything to offer to Audi or the VW Group in general.
"I can't think of a concrete reason for Audi to warrant a business case for buying Ducati," told Reuters, Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch-Gladbach."Ducati doesn't enhance Audi's business model in any way, it's just a trophy in the wall cabinet," he added.
Ducati is the third Italian brand to be acquired by the VW Group after Lamborghini and Italdesign.
The Italian motorcycle builder has manufacturing operations at its headquarters in Bologna and at its own factory in Thailand. Last year, Ducati sold around 42,000 motorcycles and generated revenue of some €480 million (US$631 million), employing around 1,100 people.
Thanks to Chad G. for the tip!