Ducati up for sale, German automakers cited as potential suitors

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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