Volkswagen's Audi brand is reported to be 'in talks' to buy Ducati from its private equity owner Investindustrial.
Last month the Financial Times revealed that Investindustrial was looking to sell the iconic Italian brand, with chairman Andrea Bonomi stating “the further growth [Ducati] requires needs the support of a world-class industrial partner”.
The FT now reports that talks between Audi and Ducati have been “confirmed by people close to both companies” and that “Audi [is] conducting due diligence on Ducati but that details of a possible purchase price were still unclear”.
A Reuters report adds: "A successful [Ducati] deal would extend Audi's long-standing rivalry with BMW to superbikes, and add expertise about high-revving light engines to VW's engineering portfolio, which ranges from cars through heavy trucks to ship engines."
"I like everything that's red," VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn said when asked about Ducati at his annual earnings conference on Monday.
Ducati is one of three remaining manufacturers competing in MotoGP, where it runs Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden in its factory team, plus two further satellite entries. Ducati won last year's World Superbike title with Althea's Carlos Checa.
The VW Group owns car brands Lamborghini, Skoda, Seat, Bentley, Audi and Bugatti, plus MAN and Scania trucks.
Fellow German giants Daimler and BMW, plus Indian brands Mahindra&Mahindra and Hero have also been linked to the possible purchase of Ducati.