Facing costs exceeding $20 billion in the United States alone due to its diesel emissions scandal, plus a hefty bill to develop new electric car technology, the Volkswagen Group has been cutting back on staff and niche products to preserve cash.
There’s always been talk that the VW Group might also offload one or more of its many brands, and if a report out on Wednesday proves accurate the Ducati brand may be the first to go.
Reuters, citing two people familiar with the matter, reported that the VW Group is considering selling Ducati, the high-end Italian motorcycle brand it purchased in 2012 for approximately $935 million.
The sources said the VW Group had gone as far as hiring investment bank Evercore to determine what options were available, and mentioned motorcycle companies in China and India as potential suitors along with fellow Italian firm Investindustrial, the private equity group that owns a big chunk of Aston Martin.
An estimate for Ducati’s value, based on the company’s annual earnings of $109 million before interest and taxes (EBIT), is $1.63 billion, the sources said. And if a suitable buyer can’t be found, another option could be to take Ducati public with a stock market flotation, the sources also said.
Stay tuned for an update.