Benetton family in shortlist to buy Ducati: source

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MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s Benetton family is among five bidders shortlisted to buy Italian motorcycle brand Ducati, which is being sold by Germany’s Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), a source close to the matter said on Saturday.

The finalists will be given access to the company’s books after the summer, the source said, adding that the offers received valued Ducati at 1.3 billion-1.5 billion euros ($1.5 billion-$1.8 billion).

Volkswagen’s luxury brand Audi, which is the owner of Ducati, declined to comment.

Earlier on Saturday, two Italian newspapers said that besides the Benetton family’s investment vehicle, Edizione Holding, the shortlist included U.S. automotive firm Polaris Industries (PII.N) and private equity funds such as Ducati’s previous owner Investindustrial, France’s PAI and Bain Capital.

Investindustrial declined to comment. Polaris, PAI and Bain could not immediately be reached for comment.

The list of initial bidders for Ducati also included two Indian motorbike firms, Eicher Motors (EICH.NS) and Bajaj Auto (BAJA.NS), as well as private equity funds CVC Capital Parners and Advent, sources have previously said.

Volkswagen, Europe’s largest carmaker, is reviewing several assets in a bid to move beyond the emissions scandal that has left it facing billions of dollars in fines and settlements.

A successful deal for Ducati, which had revenue of 731 million euros last year, would show that Volkswagen boss Matthias Mueller is serious about reversing its quest for size.

($1 = 0.8512 euros)

Reporting by Paola Arosio in Milan; additional reporting by Andreas Cremer in Berlin and Massimo Gaia in Milan; writing by Agnieszka Flak; editing by David Clarke

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