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Aprilia Shareholders Grant Exclusive Negotiation Rights to Ducati

By Sean Alexander, Jul. 20, 2004
This is just my opinion. I think Ducati would be well advised to take full opportunity of the Due Diligence period, so as not to be blindsided by the hidden pitfalls that are always involved when trying to assimilate a company with deep debt and numerous financial woes.

After both sides do their homework and IF both sides decide to move forward with a deal, I think Ducati shouldnt try to change Guzzis market positioning. Instead, I think Ducati would be best served by slightly re-positioning the Aprilia badge to compete on price with the Japanese brands. In other words, Ducati should focus on the premium sport segment, Guzzi on the air-cooled nostalgic segment and Aprilia on the real world motorcycling segment. But, thats just my opinion. What do YOU think? -Sean

Here is the latest press release from Ducati, on their ongoing bid to acquire the Aprilia group:



Bologna, July 17th 2004 ~ Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. (NYSE: DMH, Borsa Italiana S.p.A.: DMH), the high performance motorcycle manufacturer has reached an agreement today with Aprilia shareholders, for the exclusive negotiation in the acquisition of the group.

The agreement foresees a due diligence period on certain legal, fiscal and accounting matters.

The decision is a clear step forward in the negotiation process, which is essential for the future of Aprilia and the Italian motorcycle industry. This agreement marks the beginning of a new and important negotiation phase with all the parties involved in the Group restructuring in order to ensure the continuity of the Aprilia business.

We are fully satisfied with the progress of the negotiation, comments Federico Minoli, President and CEO of Ducati Motor Holding. We are close to the end of a complex process. We have a sound industrial plan and we are confident of the support that we will receive from banks, suppliers, other creditors, management and unions. Since 1996, with the help of all the constituents we have transformed Ducati from a struggling company to a worldwide success. Today Ducati is traded in the stock exchanges of Milan and New York, it is healthy, financially secure and ready to invest financial resources and knowledge to recreate the Ducati success story with Aprilia. Our plan is simple: maintain the identity of each brand which is defined by their rich history and territory, while capitalizing on the synergies of critical mass in distribution, especially in foreign markets, research, development and purchasing.

Founded in 1926, Ducati builds racing-inspired motorcycles characterized by unique engine features, innovative design, advanced engineering and overall technical excellence. The Company produces motorcycles in five market segments which vary in their technical and design features and intended customers: Superbike, Supersport; Monster, Sport Touring and Multistrada. The Companys motorcycles are sold in more than 60 countries worldwide, with a primary focus in the Western European, Japan and North American markets.

Ducati has won twelve of the last fourteen World Superbike Championship titles and more individual victories than the competition put together. For more information about the Company, please visit our web site at http://www.ducati.com

This press release contains statements that are forward-looking and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated, as described in documents previously filed by the Company with CONSOB and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
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