The latest rumour about the sale of Ducati is that Austrian manufacturer KTM may be interested in buying the iconic Italian brand.
It comes from one interview with KTM CEO Stefan Pierer in German magazine Speedweek where he expresses he is interested in Ducati.
Reports across the world now say KTM will be a likely bidder for the company.
That’s an understandable conclusion since Pierer Industries AG, a company controlled by Stefan, did buy Husaberg and Husqvarna.
But what did Stefan really say?
Ducati is the Ferrari of the motorcycle industry. Of course, having such a brand in our group would be interesting. It is not a question of price, but it is about the topic: When does everyone realise the situation they are in.
It’s a bit of a stretch to go from someone expressing he would be interested in ownership to actually getting the wallet out.
Although, KTM is now believed to be preparing a bid of €1.5 billion.
That’s a sizeable bid, but Indian company Eicher Motors, which owns Royal Enfield, bid €1.8 billion for Ducati a couple of years ago. It was not accepted.
As for the “situation”, he is probably referring to the global slump in motorcycle sales. Perhaps he suggests more brand mergers to make companies more economically viable.
But is Ducati even up for sale?
Three years ago, VW hinted it may sell Ducati to help recoup multi-billion-dollar emissions scandal debts.
Since then, the debt has escalated even further. However, VW has continued to make record profits and ameliorated a lot of the debt.
At one stage, VW went so far as to accept informal bids on Ducati.
Several companies were interested and some even offered bids.
They included: Indian automotive giants Hero and Eicher Motors; American motorcycle and powered recreational vehicle company Polaris Industries; investment firm Bain Capital; private equity fund PAI; the Italian Benetton family through former Ducati owner Investindustrial; and even Harley-Davidson.
Some of it may have just been talk to prop up their share price.
However, others were serious and made their bids public.
Then VW withdrew their unofficial sale offer.
Since then, Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali and VW board members have issued conflicting statements about whether the company is up for sale.
Meanwhile, Ducati has recorded eight consecutive years of record sales growth and looks set for its ninth.