Bajaj Auto, India’s largest two wheeler exporter is likely to partner Europe’s iconic motorcycle brand Ducati, encouraged by its existing partnership with KTM, Europe’s largest motorcycle maker. KTM, in which Bajaj Auto has about 48 per cent equity stake is said to be closing in on the Ducati brand, which is on the selling block. The announcement is likely to be made in the next two weeks. Almost all major brands like India right from Royal Enfield to Hero MotoCorp have been speculated to have shown interest in the Ducati brand. It was only last month Bajaj Auto along with KTM and Harley Davidson entered the race. Addressing shareholders at the 10th annual general meeting, Rajiv Bajaj, MD of Bajaj Auto hinted, “We are very close to finalising a very promising alliance, it’s not certain, that it will happen, but if it happens, it will open up enormous possibilities for the company. That is why we keep our money (cash on books) with us, so, once in a while, when an opportunity comes along, we are ready.” For the record, Bajaj Auto as on date held free cash of about Rs 13,250 crore. Bajaj without sharing the specifics explained the logic of adding another brand. He said KTM operates in the world of hard or sporty riding, which is meant for racing, but there are genres in the portfolio which were missing, “There is also a world of easy riding or lazy riding, it is a world of Harley Davidson, Indian motorcycle owned by Polaris, the world of Triumph, this segment so far has been missing from our puzzle. The only missing puzzle is the premium brand in this space. That is the format of work which is more suitable to me than a scooter,” added Bajaj.
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