With parent company Volkswagen (VW) reeling from the effects of Dieselgate, owner of premier Italian motorcycle brand Ducati, Audi, is reported to have received expressions of interest from private equity firms, according to unnamed sources. Bloomberg Markets reported that besides Eicher Motors, owner of the Royal Enfield of India brand, Hero Motocorp – formerly Hero Honda of India – is allegedly considering a bid.

Other interested parties are said to be Permira and CVC Capital, equity companies that specialise in corporate buyouts. The timeline for the sale of Ducati may begin in a few weeks, with the Borgo Panigale firm valued at more than 1 billion USD (RM4.3 billion).

As VW’s premium car division, Audi was reported to have started seeking potential buyers early in 2016. VW is currently working with Evercore Partners on its strategy for the disposal of Ducati, but might do an about face and retain the performance motorcycle brand.

Audi purchased Ducati from Italian equity firm InvestIndustrial for 962 million USD (RM4.1 billion) in 2012 and was rumoured to have considered divesting itself of the brand last year. Ducati had sales of 593 million euros (RM2.81 billion) in 2016 with 55,451 units sold, representing a sales growth of 1.2%.