Audi is reportedly closing in on a deal to purchase the Ducati premium motorcycle brand with an official announcement anticipated as early as next week.

Reuters reported sources as saying that no major stumbling blocks were encountered in the due diligence, with the main Ducati shareholder Investindustrial (an Italian investor group) agreeing to talk about a sale exclusively with Audi.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera also said that an accord between Ducati and Audi is expected to be signed next week.

VW Group patriarch Ferdinand Piech is thought to have long been keen to extend the wide brand portfolio to include a premium motorcycle brand (that could rival BMW and others). Ducati’s technical know-how could also benefit the wider group, analysts say.

Positioning Ducati for close association with Audi is also seen as underlining premium high-tech credentials for both brands.

VW Group’s AGM takes place on April 19, so there is also speculation that the announcement will take place just ahead of that.

See also: BLOG: Ducati and Piech’s 75th