Ducati Motorcycles owner seeks €1 bn from potential buyers

Private equity firm Investindustrial Holdings SpA, is looking to sell iconic Italian motorcycle maker Ducati, and expects €1 billion ($1.32 billion) or three times its initial investment, the Financial Times yesterday reported.

Ducati is now a perfect company but the further growth it requires needs the support of a world-class industrial partner,'' Andrea Bonomi, Investindustrial's chairman, told the Financial Times. ''This year, we will work towards that partner.''

Investindustrial, one of the biggest private equity investors in southern Europe, is looking to reap three times its initial investment by selling or listing the maker of Diavel, Hypermotard, Streetfighter and Superbike brand of motorcycles.

Investindustrial had last year hired Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs to sound out a Hong Kong public listing for Ducati, but a sale to a rival or to a large auto group is now seen as the more likely way to internationalise the brand further, the paper said.

German car makers Volkswagen AG (VW) and, BMW AG and India's Mahindra & Mahindra could be possible buyers, said the report.

BMW and Mahindra & Mahindra have their own range of motorcycles, while 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 low.