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India's Eicher set to make $1.8 billion-$2 billion binding bid for Ducati - paper

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India's Eicher set to make $1.8 billion-$2 billion binding bid for Ducati - paper

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(Reuters) – India’s Eicher Motors <EICH.NS> is set to make a $1.8 billion-$2 billion (£1.38 billion – £1.53 billion) bid for Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati, the Economic Times daily reported on Thursday, sending the shares in the maker of Royal Enfield motorbikes to a record high. Eicher is believed to be the only Asian company left in the auction and is currently finalising terms with advisers ahead of the scheduled bid deadline of end September, the newspaper said, quoting unnamed sources. German carmaker Volkswagen <VOWG_p.DE> is considering options for Ducati, including a sale of the brand, wholly controlled by VW’s Audi division <NSUG.DE>. But sources familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier this week that Volkswagen had put the sale on hold after resistance from German trade unions and internal rifts on strategy. The sources said VW had told five bidders to hold off making binding bids for the motorbike brand, which it put up for sale in April to help fund a strategic overhaul. Eicher, Audi and VW did not immediately respond to calls seeking comments. Eicher shares were up 3.4 percent at around 0900 GMT after earlier rising as much as 3.9 pct on the bid report, as investors bet a deal could boost the Indian brand. The stock was among the top percentage gainers in the main index <.NSEI>. “Ducati being a well-renowned brand will help Eicher in terms of design and technology, which in turn will help expand the Royal Enfield product portfolio in the years to come,” said Basudeb Banerjee, analyst at Mumbai’s Antique Stockbroking. Sources had earlier told Reuters that U.S. motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson <HOG.N> and India’s Bajaj Auto Ltd <BAJA.NS> were among companies preparing bids for Ducati.

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil and Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Clara Ferreira Marques and Himani Sarkar)
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