Audi has confirmed the widely rumored deal that will see it spend an estimated $1.1 billion to acquire Italian sport motorcycle manufacturer Ducati.
The move by the Volkswagen AG luxury brand better positions Audi as a direct rival to BMW AG – as well as Japanese auto and motorcycle manufacturer Honda Motor Co. The acquisition still has to be approved by regulatory authorities in Europe, though Audi indicated it expects the deal to win approval and “be completed as quickly as possible.”
Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler described the purchase of Ducati as “another building block” in the luxury maker’s growth strategy. Long relegated to the second tier of luxury brands, Audi has been expanding rapidly in recent years and is now in a race with BMW and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz for global sales leadership.