Audi reportedly shoots down $9.2 billion investor bid for Lamborghini

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Volkswagen is open to divesting some of the brands in its portfolio, but it hasn't put a "for sale" sign on in front of Lamborghini's lawn yet. The firm allegedly shot down a big offer for the brand from a group of investors.

Quantum Group SA, a newly-established holding company based in Zurich, Switzerland, made the non-binding offer in May 2021, according to anonymous sources who spoke to WardsAuto. The publication adds the group is ready to spend 7.5 billion euros (around $9.2 billion at the current conversion rate) to buy the entire Lamborghini division from Audi. The sale would include the brand, its intellectual property (like its trademarks and patents), its historic factory in Sant'Agata Bolognese, and its racing division. Full details about the proposed acquisition were closely examined by top Volkswagen executives, including company CEO Herbert Diess and Audi boss Markus Duesmann.

While the offer sounds like it's neatly packaged, Volkswagen replied that it's not having a garage sale.

"Lamborghini is not for sale. This is not the subject of any discussion within the group," a company spokesperson told industry trade journal Automotive News. These comments are in line with the ones made in December 2020.

Quantum's aim wasn't to sever all ties with Volkswagen. It planned to turn Lamborghini into "a spearhead for innovation by consistently implementing new clean drivetrain technologies" across the range, a strategy that's already in the pipeline; Lamborghini announced it will electrify in the 2020s and launch its first series-produced EV. Investors also hoped to sign a five-year supply agreement with Audi, and to create what they called an Advanced Automotive Innovation Center headquartered somewhere in Lower Saxony, the German state Wolfsburg is in.

In late 2020, when rumors about an imminent Lamborghini spin-off were rampant, Volkswagen stressed it had no plans to sell the Italian supercar manufacturer or to find a new home for Ducati, which Lamborghini owns. Unverified reports claim a chunk of the company could be listed on the stock market in a bid to raise revenue, however.

Bugatti is another part of the Volkswagen empire that Diess and his team allegedly wanted to trade in to fund the group's pivot towards electric powertrains. In September 2020, reports claimed top executives had approved swapping the storied French carmaker and its assets for a significant stake in Croatia-based Rimac that would be transferred directly to Porsche. Fast forward to May 2021, and talk of a Bugatti spin-off has largely faded away.

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