When Andrea Bonani chairman of Investindustrial, the private equity group that owns Ducati, announced that he was interested in finding a partner, all hell broke loose in the motoring industry with rumours floating around about the biggest manufacturing houses out there.
BMW and Volkswagen were mentioned as possible buyers and so was Mahindra, but now another Indian company Hero Motocorp (formerly Hero Honda) seems to be interested in acquiring Ducati. Hero in December 2010 decided to exit a 26-year partnership with Honda. The world’s largest motorcycle maker, is looking to gain technology through partnerships and acquisitions after that licensing relationship ends in 2014. Just last month, Hero entered into a partnership with Erik Buell Racing, where it would sponsor two EBR teams in the AMA Pro Racing National Guard Superbike Championship in return for technology and design support for future models. Ducati enthusiasts probably need not worry about the company continuing with its product line, at least for the near term, since that is the value, along with the underlying technology, that’s being purchased. However, if a company like Hero is trying to branch out and establish itself as a player in a much larger market and they are successful in their acquisition, sooner or later, motorcycles with Ducati’s technology may begin to appear with the Hero nameplate. Hero in MotoGP? Like we said, this could get very interesting, especially as the other potential buyers begin to see new and unexpected suitors moving in.