Volkswagen Withdraws Ducati Sale Amid Unions' Opposition

Volkswagen halted the sale of its Ducati unit amid opposition from its powerful labour groups.
Volkswagen Withdraws Ducati Sale Amid Unions' Opposition
A logo sits on a red wall outside Ducati Motor Holding SpA’s headquarters, a unit of Volkswagen AG (VW), in Bologna, Italy (Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg)  

(Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG halted the possible sale of its Ducati motorcycle unit amid persistent opposition from its powerful labor groups, according to an Italian union leader.

“Ducati’s CEO told workers Friday that the VW supervisory board decided to halt the sale process," Bruno Papignani, regional head of FIOM CIGL union, said in a phone interview. "IG Metall sustained and helped Ducati workers in their request to remain inside the VW group which should keep investing in our company."

Volkswagen considered selling Ducati as part of an asset review that started last year to examine options for operations that aren’t a fit for its car and truck focus. VW’s Audi luxury division, which owns Ducati, hired Evercore Partners Inc. to advise on strategic options, people familiar with the matter said in April. A Ducati official declined to comment on the sale process, while VW spokesman Eric Felber said the company doesn’t comment on market rumors.

A sale of Ducati could have beefed VW’s cash by as much as 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion). The company reported a surprise charge of about 2.5 billion euros in the third quarter as plans to buy back or retrofit tainted U.S. diesel cars proves more complex, bringing total damages from the two-year-old scandal to over 25 billion euros.

Ducati had picked five bidders in July that were expected to make binding offers by October, people familiar with the matter said in July. Those included the Benetton family holding company Edizione Srl and former owner Investindustrial Spa. The bidders valued Ducati up to 1.5 billion euros, the people said.

Retaining a business with hardly any overlap with other parts of VW’s sprawling automotive empire will likely raise questions about the asset review in a strategy revamp through 2025. Failure after months of work is a fresh blow to Audi, VW’s largest profit contributor, which faces a management overhaul.

Audi bought Ducati from Italian buyout firm Investindustrial for about 860 million euros in 2012. Investindustrial took a controlling stake from another private equity firm, TPG, in 2006.

--With assistance from Richard Weiss and Christoph Rauwald

To contact the reporters on this story: Tommaso Ebhardt in Milan at, Chiara Remondini in Milan at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Vidya Root at, Steve Geimann, Jon Menon

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