Audi has released a statement confirming its purchase of thoroughbred Italian motorcycle maker Ducati, in a deal that is thought to be worth €860 million ($1.12 billion). The transaction will be now completed as quickly as possible once authorised by the competition authorities.

The Supervisory Boards of AUDI AG and Volkswagen AG approved the acquisition today in Hamburg, with Ducati soon to become the third Italian brand in Audi’s arsenal – joining Lamborghini and Italdesign.

If you’re wondering what possible synergies there are between Ducati and Audi, then you’re not alone.

Audi’s spokesperson talked about “..the progressive control systems and special combustion chamber process of Ducati engines, plus Ducati’s extensive know-how in lightweight construction offer great potential for AUDI AG and the Volkswagen Group.”

However most people see this as a ‘trophy purchase’ by VW chairman Ferdinand Piech, who has long wished to own the superbike maker and famously said that he wished he’d bought Ducati in 1985 when it cost “peanuts”.

Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Audi AG, said this morning: “Ducati is known worldwide as a premium brand among motorcycle manufacturers and has a long tradition of building sporty motorcycles. It has great expertise in high-performance engines and lightweight construction, and is one of the world’s most profitable motorcycle manufacturers. That makes Ducati an excellent fit for Audi.”

Ducati produces around 40,000 bikes per year, generating revenues of €480 million from a staff of 1,100 employees. The deal includes Ducati’s debts, which are estimated at around €200 million.

The company was founded by Adriano and Marcello Ducati in Bologna in 1926. Known originally as Società Scientifica Radiobrevetti Ducati, it initially built parts for radios.

It ventured into the manufacture of motorcycles in 1949 and now produces a full range of cruiser, supermoto, adventure, naked and superbikes.

Ducati has been actively involved in motorcycle racing for many decades through its racing division Ducati Corse, most notably in the MotoGP. Two-time world champion Casey Stoner delivered Ducati’s first MotoGP world championship, whilst current riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden are seeking to add to Stoner’s scorecard.