For Sale: Ducati

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“Ducati is now a perfect company but the further growth it requires needs the support of a world-class industrial partner,” the chairman of the private equity firm which owns Ducati told the Financial Times yesterday, indicating that the storied motorcycle brand is officially up for sale.

Ducati has solidified its position as the most well-known, most-desirable manufacturer of exotic motorcycles in recent years with an incredibly strong product line up and excellent brand recognition. But, with a volume of just 40,000 bikes annually, it needs major investment if its to expand into booming markets in Southeast Asia and South America. It makes sense, then, that likely buyers are being tipped as German automakers such as Mercedes, which entered into a marketing partnership with Ducati last year, various Asian conglomerates and even megalithic Indian automaker Mahindra.

We’ll bring you more information and analysis as the situation unfolds.

via The Kneeslider

  • Holden and Annette

    Harley! Davidson!

    • http://www.kenta.ro Kentaro rides a NRS and a GSA

      I’m not sure if I would love that or hate that.

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    Uhoh.

  • http://www.cdavisdesigns.com Chris Davis

    Bain Capital!

    • BMW11GS

      haha I support this, even if you meant it in jest.

    • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

      Well played!

    • robotribe

      Nah. That just ensures another sale in the future.

  • je

    Whitney Houston….

    Too soon?

    • BigRooster

      No – not too soon but the reference doesn’t make any sense in context – so it’s not funny.

  • Raubert Van Harris

    Ducati seems like such a well managed brand. They’ve been so good at spotting opportunities in the market and delivering lust-worthy bikes. It doesn’t take a business genius to come up with bikes like the 848, 1098, 1199, etc. but the Monster, Hypermotard, and Diavel represent some very clever experiments. Hopefully the owner won’t change the direction of the brand!

  • Jeffery Boaz

    Its the 90s all over again! Maybe TPG is ready to go at it again. lol

  • Roman

    Is it wrong that I’m hoping it stays in Western hands? It feels wrong to root against random Asian conglomerates getting their hands on Ducati, and yet….

    • bluemilew

      Fiat? VAG?

      • Campisi

        Fiat actually makes a pretty good amount of sense as a buyer, since they could use Ducati as a two-wheeled compliment to Ferrari. My first thought was that Piaggio could add Ducati’s feather to its cap, but then what would Aprilia’s position in the hierarchy be?

    • Kevin

      It could make a lot of sense for an Asian outfit to buy them. It would add halo to a family of brands, and they can produce locally for their markets at lower cost. Bologna can run for the rest of the world, until they close everything there but R&D to save money.

      It’s like it’s already happened and we’re just watching it play out…

  • wwalkersd

    This seems to be the eternal situation with Italian motorcycle companies. They go out of business, they get resurrected, they get sold, they get re-sold, they get given away (MV Agusta for $1), over and over again. I think maybe Italian passion overwhelms sense.

    For example, does a company selling 40,000 bikes a year really need to be competing in MotoGP in order to sell bikes?

  • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]

    Sell at your peak value! See Facebook for a recent example. Sounds like they spent all their cash and are in their investment “refractory period”.
    Hopefully we get some more good bikes from them before something stupid happens.

  • BigRooster

    Daimler could be a good parent but I dont know what’s in it for them. The profits from such a small company would be a drop in the bucket for such a large parent, but maybe they see a lot of potential.

    What about Piaggio or Polaris?

    • tears

      Polaris just bought Indian, and I can’t see piaggio buying if they have Aprilia…

  • Marc

    Are there any Italian bocce ball manufacturers with an itchy checkbook?

  • tears

    If Mercedes Benz is already sponsoring them, they might be the ones to buy then. I’d rather have it that, instead of some random Indian or Asian owner.

    • BigRooster

      Mercedes Benz would not be buying anything. It would be the parent company Daimler. MB is one of 9 brands.

  • AHA

    Hyundai/KIA has the cash and the position to open up big new markets for Ducati. The Korean brands could benefit from the image boost and additional engineering talent. None of which really applies to Mercedes et al.
    Also – can’t understand why VW never bought KTM. Just petty cash to Ferdy Piech and a far better & cheaper way of sticking it up BMW than Bentley (Rolls Royce spoiler) or the Maybach horrorshow.

  • FiveG

    Maybe Harley wants to try again?

    Out of curiousity, has anyone reported how much they’re trying to raise, whether it will be an IPO, or what?