Audi may be Ducati’s new owner next week image

Audi Ag, Volkswagen’s luxury carmaker plans to announce the acquisition of motorcycle maker Ducati, two people familiar with the matter said, Reuters reports.

According to the same source, Europe’s biggest carmaker, encountered no major stumbling blocks during due diligence on the Italian motor cycle manufacturer. The purchase could be announced as early as April 18, the day before Volkswagen’s annual shareholders meeting in Hamburg.

A successful deal would fuel Audi’s long-standing rivalry with BMW and add expertise in high-revving light engines to VW’s engineering portfolio, which ranges from cars and heavy trucks to ship engines.

If rumors are correct, Ducati is hoping for a total purchase price of 850 million Euros ($1.14- billion Cdn.) but that figure includes 200 million Euros of debt, meaning the actual sale price of the brand itself would be approximately $400-million Cdn.

Ducati’s owners, which also include BS Private Equity and Hospital of Ontario Pension Plan, have said they were considering an initial public offering for the motorcycle maker.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera said that Audi has the right to negotiate exclusively until 15 April, after which private equity firm Investindustrial Holdings SpA, Ducati’s main shareholder, is free to talk to other potential buyers.

It was also incorrectly reported earlier that Ducati was 800 million Euro in debt, it is in fact 200 million Euros.