Audi close to finalising Ducati acquisition: report

Germany's Audi, a unit of luxury-car maker Volkswagen (VW), plans to announce the acquisition of Ducati next week, having completed due diligence of the iconic Italian motorcycle maker, Reuters today reported, citing sources.

The acquisition could be announced as early as 18 April the day before VW's annual shareholders meeting in Hamburg, said the news agency.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera also yesterday reported without citing sources that a deal could be signed between Ducati and Audi next week.

The paper said that Audi has the right to negotiate exclusively until 15 April, after which private equity firm Investindustrial Holdings SpA, Ducati's main shareholder, is free to talk to other potential buyers.

Ferdinand Pich, VW's chairman, who drives Ducati bikes, had said a few years ago that he regretted not having acquired Ducati when its valuation was lower.

Early last month, India's biggest motorcycle maker by sales, Hero MotoCorp, confirmed media reports that it is in talks with banks on raising funds for a potential acquisition.