Italian newspaper Correrie di Bologna is reporting that the Volkswagen Group has officially made an offer to buy Ducati, putting €750 million on the table for the well-known motorcycle brand.
Current Ducati owner, Investindustrial, owns a 70 percent majority stake and has previously suggested it would be willing to sell Ducati Motor Holdings for between roughly €850 million and €1 billion.
Investindustrial bought the company for roughly half of the €750 million it may end up collecting from the VW Group, a buyout which occurred in 2005 when Ducati was sold off by Texas Pacific Group.
The German-based Volkswagen Group has the first right of refusal on any deals conducted with Ducati, and has until the end of April before other bidders can enter the fray.
In 2011 Ducati saw a 43 per cent increase in global sales in what was a tough year for motorcycle sales. The gains were largely fuelled by American demand for the Diavel power cruiser (pictured).
VW overlord Ferdinand Piech's first motorcycle was a Ducati. And indeed, Piech has made no secret of his desire to acquire the company for some years now.
A contingent of Volkswagen Group engineers has reportedly visited the Ducati manufacturing plants in Borgo Panigale, Bologna already. Ducati wouldn't be the first Italian brand under the Volkswagen Group umbrella, which also owns exotic car marque Lamborghini, which it acquired in 1998 and whose Sant'Agata base is not far from Ducati HQ.
But don't expect any VW-badged motorcycles just yet. In 2006 Volkswagen revealed the VW GX3 reverse trike but if Volkswagen did buy the company it would likely keep the motorcycle research and development separate from its other brands.