Sources are suggesting that Harley-Davidson are lining up a takeover bid for Ducati, which is being put up for sale by car manufacturer Volkswagen in a deal that could be worth up to €1.5 billion (£1.3 billion).
The potential bid comes after a turbulent couple of years for the German automaker, who in September 2015 admitted to US regulators that it had cheated on emissions tests across the pond using software installed in as many as 11 million diesel vehicles sold worldwide.
Reuters UK reported that Harley have hired Goldman Sachs to help work on the deal and is hoping to launch bids on the Italian company in July.
If successful, it could see the two motorcycle giants merge with a finalised deal by the end of the year. Although it’s looking unlikely that the deal will be done by the time EICMA comes around in November.
Last June, Volkswagen stated that they were going to review its portfolio of assets and brands. However, the sale of Ducati is a switch in direction for the German owners, after Audi’s boss Rupert Stadler (who are owned by the Volkswagen group) confirmed to MCN that Ducati wouldn’t be put up for sale.
Indian firm Hero MotoCorp – who bought a 49% stake in the now defunct Eric Buell Racing - are initially reported to have been interested in bidding for Ducati but have been put off by the price, according to sources.
Other potential buyers include a number of private equity firms, who are also rumoured to be working on a bid.
Ducati had a successful year in 2016, reporting revenues of €593 million.
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