Ducati board deems buyout offer as "positive"

MILAN (Reuters) - The board of Italian motorcycle maker Ducati DMH.MI has deemed a proposed buyout offer from main shareholders to be 'positive', the company said on Friday.

Shareholders Investindustrial, BS Investimenti and Canadian pension fund Hospitals of Ontario plan to launch a 390.8 million euro ($579 million) offer for the 70 percent of the company they do not own.

The board met on Friday to consider the offer. “The forecast offer by the key shareholders was evaluated positively in terms of price, which seems reasonable, as well as for conditions,” Ducati said in a statement.

However, the Bologna-based company needs to examine a formal proposal and valuations given by advisers, it said. Ducati has hired Mediobanca as its financial adviser.

The bid announced on Tuesday was priced at 1.70 euros a share, a 23 percent premium over the official closing price on Monday and valuing Ducati’s total share capital at 558.35 million euros.

Private equity firm Investindustrial, controlled by the Bonomi family, owns 15.6 percent of Ducati. Hospitals of Ontario Pension Plan has a 7.4 percent stake and BS Investimenti holds around 7 percent of the capital.

Shares in Ducati were down 0.36 percent at 1.665 euros at 8:39 a.m. EST as the DJ Stoxx auto index was off 2.35 percent.

Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Greg Mahlich