The ‘For Sale’ sign has been discretely above the door at superbike maker Ducati for some time, and the money has been on Mercedes snapping up some two-wheeled prestige to add to its four-wheel stable. But it now looks like Audi has beaten them to the prize and look set to buy Ducatti.
The tie-up between Mercedes and Ducati started in late 2010 with the aim to deliver joint marketing projects in the belief Mercedes and Ducati shared a similar customer demographic. All we’ve really seen since then is a little promo between the Mercedes SLK 55 AMG and the Ducatti Streetfighter 848 – both dressed in yellow paint jobs – and a few small events. But it was enough to convince us Mercedes where in it for the buy.
But it now seems that Audi has signed an exclusive agreement to buy Ducati from under the noses not just of Mercedes but of sister company VW and India’s Mahindra. But first Audi need to make sure the Ducati facilities are up to scratch and there’s nothing more horrible than they already know lurking in the books.
It seems Audi already know that Ducati’s debts exceed its annual revenue with a black hole of debt said to be around €200 million. The plan seems to be for Audi to absorb that debt (which won’t exactly mean bread and dripping in the Audi staff canteen to cover the cost) and throw around €50 million in to the deal.
The plan to buy Ducati is part of ‘Project Eagle’, a Piech-inspired plan to give Audi two-wheeled prestige to match BMWs, a quest that saw Audi look at reviving the Horex bike marque a while back. That plan came to nothing, but it looks – bar a startling revelation or two during due diligence – that Audi will now achieve its aim to swallow Ducati and rival BMW in the two-wheeled prestige stakes.
Mercedes SLK 55 AMG and Ducati Streetfighter 848 Photo Gallery
(13 photos – click any thumbnail for full gallery)
Source: Car Magazine