Royal Enfield has increased its bid to buy Ducati to a reported €1.8 billion despite the Volkswagen board hung on a decision to sell the Italian motorcycle company.
Indian automotive company Eicher Motors, who own Royal Enfield, have always been interested in buying the company since calls of interest were invited in April.
However, they did not bid high enough and were not included in last month’s shortlist of three. They are American motorcycle and powered recreational vehicle company Polaris Industries, investment firm Bain Capital, private equity fund PAI and the Italian Benetton family through former Ducati owner Investindustrial.
Their bids valued Ducati at €1.3-1.5 billion which is more than 13 times the company’s annual earnings of €100 million.
VW has been working with investment bank Evercore to sell Ducati for about €1.5 billion.
Now Eicher has increased its bid with the Indian Economic Times reporting it might be as high as €2b.
Short history of Ducati bidding battle
VW has been trying to sell Ducati and some other brands in an effort to cover multi-billion-dollar debts incurred over the emissions scandal, or “Dieselgate”.
In August it was reported that worker representatives on the VW board and internal rifts in VW may have quashed the sale or at least postponed it until next year.
International press agency Reuters reports that VW has told the final shortlisted bidders to hold off on binding bids.
However, Eicher has now lodged their binding bid and it may be difficult for the VW board to resets such a lucrative bid.
Eicher certainly has the money to fund such a purchase as Royal Enfield is now the biggest large-capacity motorcycle manufacturer in the world, selling more bikes than Harley-Davidson, BMW, Triumph KTM and Ducati combined.
The sale of Ducati was expected to be concluded in October after a board meeting later this month, but that now seems unlikely.
It is believed it has been put on hold over board concerns and the impending German election.
Meanwhile, it’s business as usual at Ducati this week with the launch of the MotoGP-derived Desmosedici S tradable V4 engine yesterday and the release of images of an Iceberg White XDiavel S for 2018.