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Audi expands into motorcycles with Ducati

Audi says it will buy the luxury motorcycle maker for an undisclosed sum. VW's Audi unit praised Ducati for its light engines and profitability.

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Volkswagen AG Chairman Ferdinand Piech poses behind a Ducati motorcycle ahead of a shareholders meeting in Hamburg, Germany, Thursday, after VW's Audi unit said it would buy the Italian motorcycle maker for an undisclosed sum. The addition of Ducati gives VW another glossy brand to go with its Lamborghini, Bugatti, and Bentley luxury auto makes.

Philipp Guelland/dapd/AP

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Volkswagen AG's Audi unit said Wednesday it will buy Italian high-performance motorcycle maker Ducati Motor Holding SpA from Investindustrial Group. The move gives VW another glossy brand to go with its Lamborghini, Bugatti and Bentley luxury auto makers.

Audi did not disclose the purchase price in announcing the deal. It said the acquisition was approved by the boards of directors of both Audi and parent Volkswagen.

Audi said the deal "will be completed as quickly as possible" once antitrust authorities have approved it.

Ducati, based in Bologna, has some 1,100 employees. Last year, it sold about 42,000 motorcycles and had revenue of some €480 million ($630 million).

The company's motorcycles race in the MotoGP and Superbike circuits. They are known for their lightweight construction and what the company bills as its L-twin engine configuration, with one cylinder nearly vertical and the other almost horizontal.

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said in a statement that Ducati possessed "extensive know-how in high-performance engines and lightweight construction and is one of the most profitable motorcycle producers in the world."

Investindustrial Group said stakeholders Hospitals of Ontario Pension Plan and BS Investimenti also sold their stakes in Ducati to Audi.

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