Volkswagen is reported to be looking for buyers for Ducati to help pay off its multi-billion-dollar costs of the 2015 emissions scandal.
So far news agencies such as Reuters are only quoting “two people familiar with the matter”, which doesn’t sound very authoritative.
And they say they are only testing the waters for interest and have not yet made a decision to sell.
VW bought Ducati for $1.12 billion (all dollar values in $US) in 2012, including $261 million in debt. It is now estimated to be making $109m a year and could fetch up to $1.6 billion if sold.
In 2015, VW was sprung for using software that turned off emissions controls and falsified their emissions figures.
The company has agreed to pay $15 billion to US authorities and the owners of about 500,000 affected vehicles.
Volkswagen faces more payouts and has laid off 3000 workers to save money, despite revenue last year of $217.27b which was an increase of 1.86%.
If VW really is selling off Ducati, who would be the interested buyers?
Well, Polaris was tipped to be interested in buying fellow Italian motorcycle manufacturer MV Agusta last year wen it was in financial difficulty.
Maybe they could be interested in Ducati after axing Victory Motorcycles earlier this year.
Last year Polaris made $4.5b in revenue and, despite the costs of winding down Victory, they still made $1.1b in revenue in the first quarter of 2017, up 17%.
So they should be flush with funds.
Fellow American Harley-Davidson is an unlikely buyer, having been burnt by its short-term ownership of MV Agusta. They bought it in 2008 for $109 million and sold it in 2010 just $3.98!
It’s hardly likely they would do that again.
There is some speculation that the company could be bought by a Chinese consortium as is the case with countrymen Benelli, Bimota and SWM.
Indian companies could also be interested with Mahindra recently deciding to resurrect BSA and Jawa.