Automotive News is reporting that Audi is set to lay down $1.1 billion to purchase Ducati from the motorcycle manufacturer's current owner, Investindustrial. The news comes courtesy of a source "familiar with the matter," though neither Audi nor Investindustrial have officially commented on whether that price is accurate. As Automotive News points out, the price is around seven times what Ducati earned last year before interest, taxes and depreciation – even after subtracting any debt Ducati holds. Currently, the motorcycle maker's liabilities are less than $262.6 million.

Most analysts view the purchase as a thinly veiled jab at rival BMW, itself a longtime motorcycle builder. Last year, the Italian firm sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 42,000 bikes with a revenue of $630 million. While that's technically more than either Bugatti or Lamborghini, both Volkswagen brands, adding a motorcycle manufacturer to the VW portfolio probably won't do much for the rest of the company's brands. Longtime industry watchers may remember that VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech tried to purchase Ducati once before in 2008 before loosing out to Investedindustrial.

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