It's been well over a year since Ducati partnered up with the AMG high-performance unit of the Mercedes-Benz/Daimler conglomerate. Not coincidentally, it's been a year since talk of a Ducati sale, perhaps to Daimler, was last heard making waves on the rumormill.

With the start of a new year comes another rumor. Unlike many in the past, however, this one seems to have some legs. In an interview with The Financial Times, Andrea Bonomi, chairman of Investindustrial, the private equity firm that currently owns Ducati, said that there are multiple companies in the United States and Europe interested in purchasing the company.

In addition to an acquisition by AMG, Business Week opines that Volkswagen – which has long been rumored to be interested – and BMW are possible suitors. Another big name bandied about is Harley-Davidson, though that would seem to be a stretch after H-D divested itself of both its Buell sub-brand and famed Italian motorcycle maker MV Agusta.

If Ducati isn't sold outright, there is a good chance that Investindustrial may hold an initial public offering in Hong Kong, managed by Deutsche Bank and the Goldman Sachs Group. We're content to take a wait-and-see approach to these reports, but it seems increasingly likely that the world's best known Italian motorcycle brand may soon find new ownership.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm hoping it stays in Italian hands, and that the buyers don't screw it up.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't want to ride a Chinese Ducati
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hopefully they will stay italian.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hear we go again. I hope the result is a stronger Ducati. I have owned a couple and they have been fine bikes except for waiting for parts from Italy (1990's). Harley has already tried the Italian connection twice with Aermacchi and MV. The best buyer will be the one who will invest in Ducati and leave Ducati people to do what they do best.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I agree that ferrari is the clear best choice. More arguements for them besides those I posted earlier: great racing pedigree, makes much of their income from selling retail items, doing things the italian way can sometimes be messy/disagreeable, but these two companies are excellent examples of that way succeeding. Also, the exclusive/exotic feel of the brand needs to be kept.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Whenever I see a Ducati in it's usualy sexy red color, I always think of it in the back of my mind as the motorcycle equivalent of a Ferrari sports car. I don't know, but I don't think that am the only person who thinks that both Italian brands would complement each other very well. Both are "exotic" in how most prop perceive them, and not only carry a lot of sophisticated (and expensive) engineering, but emotion behind their designs. Ducati Desmodecini = Ferrari Enzo - flagship race-bred products. Ducati Panigale 1199 = Ferrari 458 Italia - latest and greatest technology, bread and butter offerings. And I could list many examples of licensing the use of the Ducati and the Ferrari name on many retail products that have nothing to even do with motorcycles or cars, as they can be considered as lifestyle brands, and attract similar types of customers who make their purchases mostly based on emotion, and have the money to do so as well.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oh god, not Daimler. Anyone but them.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Won't end well for whoever buys it... never does.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This would be a shame to be owned by non-italians. Perhaps ferrari should be looking into this. So close to eachother, comprable status, and flying the red flag.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Anyone know why they are up for sale? Profitability, perhaps? With their bikes being so expensive and them making money off of expensive repair bills I can't imagine that. Perhaps it's sales volume, or money mismanagement? I'm with the others that say Ducati should stay Italian owned. Look what Chrysler did to Lamborghini; the Diablo, which is one of the most underwhelming Bulls of all times (imo). As a bike enthusiasts I just hope Ducati doesn't fall into the hands of an equity firm.
        • 3 Years Ago
        they need an international partner to be more competitive all over the world. the company is very very healthy and this year had a +84%(!) incrementation of sales.but i woud prefer them to be less commercial and more italian.but thats globalization i guess.
      • 3 Years Ago
      By a huge margin, BMW makes the most sense. The only overlap BMW Motorcycles and Ducati have is on the GS/Multistrada line, but that wouldn't be hard to fix. Make the GS more enduro oriented and the Multistrada more of a street bike. The S1000RR is a competitor to Japanese bikes, not the 1190. Ducati no longer makes true sport touring bikes, and BMW doesn't make naked hooligan bikes. As it is, a lot of BMW dealers are also Duc dealers, and it's one of the few brands BMW will allow a dealer to sell next to BMWs. I'm not sure if any Ducatis are still oil cooled, but BMW has experience with that and water cooled bikes and could help with engine development (the oiled cooled bikes are eventually going to have to become water cooled for emissions purposes.) Both have a lot of experience with the apparel and accessories side of the business. Best of all, both brands could easily expand their dealer network (slightly) which could mean I no longer have to drive 50 miles to buy an oil filter for my airhead. All around win.
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