Ducati has a partnership with AMG, but that could soon be changing as a new report is indicating the company has struck an exclusivity deal with Audi.

According to Car Magazine, the deal will give Audi the first chance to bid on the debt-ridden motorcycle manufacturer. Accountants are reportedly doing their due diligence and everything could be finalized in April.

Sources suggest Audi could pay €50-100 ($65.6-131.1) million for Ducati and absorb approximately €800 million ($1 billion) in debt.

Ducati has been on a roll lately (see Multistrada, Diavel, 1199 Panigale), and the rumor mill has been aflutter about an automotive suitor taking over the small Italian motorcycle brand.

Mercedes-Benz seemed like a natural candidate given their marketing mashup with the AMG sub-brand, but Car magazine is reporting that Volkswagen’s Audi Group has an exclusive option to scoop up the company for €850 million (or around $1.1 billion.)

The move makes sense.

Four years ago, VW honcho Ferdinand Piech told Reuters “I would still like a small, valuable motorcycle manufacturer.” VW’s subsequent $2.5 billion takeover of Suzuki ended disastrously, leaving a Ducati-sized hole in Volkswagen’s heart.

Could you imagine an Audi-owned Ducati? Piech certainly can, and the German mastermind generally tends to get what he wants; we’ll see if the Bologna-based bike builder becomes part of his empire after the due diligence is done. Ducati’s liabilities (ie, debts) are higher their revenues; if the plan is a go, sources say Ducati will be had for only €50 to €100 million in cash, with VW absorbing the company’s debt.

Source: Car Magazine