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MotoGP, Ducati sale: Benetton also a possible contender

Among those companies interested in the purchase is the Venetian holding company that launched Melandri in 125 in '98 and '99  

MotoGP: Ducati sale: Benetton also a possible contender

There is something of an uproar building around the sale of Ducati. While Harley-Davidson appeared to be the frontrunner, there is interest on the part of KTM and Bloomberg reports that the Italian Benetton family is one of two investors who have expressed an interest in purchasing Ducati Motor Holding SpA from Volkswagen AG. The information came from an internal source who wants to remain anonymous.

Benetton holding company Edizione Srl, the business of which includes motorways and Atlantia SpA airport management, is willing to join with a private equity firm in a subsequent phase.

Investindustrial SpA, owned by Andrea Bonomi and which sold Ducati to the German automotive group in 2012 for 860 million euro, Advent International Corp. and PAI Partners SAS have all also expressed an interest in acquiring the Italian manufacturer.

Expressions of interest had to be submitted by 19 July. Benetton, Investindustrial, Advent and PAI reps have all refused to comment, as has Volkswagen. The manufacturer is looking to sell for at least 1.5 billion euro.

Volkswagen is considering the sale as part of a review of activities that began last year with regard to those operations that do not come under its car and truck strategy. The Audi luxury division of VW, which owns Ducati, has hired Evercore Partners Inc. to advise on the various strategic options.

The Benettons are renewing their 12 billion euro share in the holding company and are looking for acquisitions after increasing their profits to 1.6 billion euro with the sale of a majority share in the World Duty Free company in 2015.

As they look at Ducati, the Benettons are also supporting the 16.3 billion offer that Atlantia has made to acquire Spanish competition Abertis SA, to create the largest motorway toll operator in the world.

Benetton's Edizione Srl holding is also seeking partners for various businesses ranging from the clothing chain of the same name to the Autogrill SpA restaurant chain.

Last year, the clan hired former Telecom CEO Marco Patuano as the new CEO of Edizione Srl, tasking him with the planning of new strategies.

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Translated by Heather Watson

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