For Sale: Ducati
Ducati is for sale. No, there's no "a" in the sentence. We don't mean to say that a Ducati is for sale, we mean that Ducati is for sale... Like Ducati Ducati. You know, that entire company.
Just a few days ago the chairman of one of the most successful motorcycle companies announced that the iconic Ducati empire is on the market for a "world-class industrial partner."
But that begs the question: why? After having one of the best sales years with the reveal of the 1199 Panigale and total sales skyrocketing up the about 43% over previous years, why is Ducati's private-equity owner spilling the beans about selling? Well, Investindustrial SpA, a Milan-based private-equity firm which currently owns Ducati is reported to be looking to hand off the Ducati torch to a partner for a rumored $1.3 billion, enough money to make even Donald Trump blink an eye.
So, par the usual course, people have started taking bets on what company might snag up the Italian gem like large hat donned women at the opening day of the horse races. Who are among the potentials? Andrea Bonomi, chairman of Investindustrial, has allegedly listed off Germany's Volkswagen AG and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) among the prospectors. But it wouldn't be any fun if either of them actually made a mention if their intentions, so "mum"s the word. And while no one on the inside has made a mention of the American beast Harley-Davidson throwing their offer in the pot, people can't help but wonder if it's just what they need to get back in the sport bike game after the nasty Buell divorce. Then again, some people ponder that it might be just a bit too soon to start courting a new partner so shortly after the last break up.
Still, why are the Italians offering up their recently successful motorcycle line? Sir chairman of Investindustrial SpA says, "Ducati is now a perfect company but the further growth it requires needs the support of a world-class industrial partner." In other words, Ducati has hit its peak with the resources that the company now has. While the bikes are "near perfection" they're only selling a mere 40,000 bikes annually, just a drop in the bucket compared to the amounts that companies such as Honda. The solution? Ducati needs a partner with the resources to make more. MORE I tell you! More manufacturing facilities and the investments to keep it all growing.
So while not a whole lot has been revealed on how this whole thing is going to play out, it sure is fun to speculate. Interestingly enough, it seems that Volkswagen might actually be the lucky winner. After all, rumor has it that "Volkswagen Chairman, Ferdinand Piech, rides a Ducati and has said in the past that he made a mistake by not buying the Italian firm when the price was low a few years back," says motorcycleinsurance.com. Interesting indeed...