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Ducati to be sold to Audi, owners confirm

Iconic motorcycle company reported to go for 860 million euros

18 April, 19:39
Ducati to be sold to Audi, owners confirm (ANSA) - Rome, April 18 - The investment fund that controls Ducati confirmed Wednesday that it has reached a deal to sell the Italian motorcycle company to German automobile-maker Audi. Media reports said that Audi and its parent company Volkswagen had agreed to pay 860 million euros to buy the Bologna-based brand from the outgoing owners Investindustrial. "Ducati is known worldwide as a premium brand among motorcycle manufacturers and has a long tradition of building sporty motorcycle," Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler said in a statement.

"It has great expertise in high-performance engines and lightweight construction, and is one of the world's most profitable motorcycle manufacturers. That makes Ducati an excellent fit for Audi".

The motorcycle company was founded by Adriano and Marcello Ducati in Bologna in 1926. It initially built parts for radios and did not move into the two-wheeler market until 1949.

Ducati, who are sometimes seen at motorcycling's equivalent of Ferrari, employs 1,100 people and sold some 42,000 motorcycles in 2011, generating revenue of around 480 million euros.

Its elite range of machines includes cruisers, supermotos, adventure bikes, naked bikes and superbikes.

The deal makes Ducati Audi's third Italian operation after it acquired legendary sports carmaker Lamborghini and design enterprise ItalDesign.

Ducati's sexy image is boosted by its race division, which competes in the MotoGP championship and Superbike World Championship. The team has won the Superbike manufacturers' championship 17 times and the pilots' title 14 times.

Ducati won the 2007 MotoGP world title with Australian Casey Stoner but they are struggling in the class at the moment despite the arrival of Italy's nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi last season.