Reuters is reporting that Harley-Davidson is preparing a bid for Ducati, which is being put up for sale by owner Volkswagen. Volkswagen’s Audi division has controlled Ducati since it acquired the company from Investindustrial in 2012, and according to Reuters is selling off the iconic Italian marque in order to fund a “strategic overhaul” following its emissions scandal.
Reuters doesn’t identify its sources as the “process is private,” but details have emerged that seem to indicate Harley is serious, including that Harley has hired Goldman Sachs to work the deal, and that tentative bids are expected in July.
Harley is bidding against numerous private equity firms and other industry players. Potential suitors include Ducati’s previous owner, Investindustrial, private equity funds KKR, Bain Capital and Permira, and Indian motorcycle manufacturer Bajaj Auto.
Volkswagen has indicated that it hopes to raise between 1.4 and 1.5 billion euros (1.56 to 1.67 billion dollars). Indian motorcycle makers Hero MotoCorp and TVS Motor Company initially expressed interest but walked away when they heard the price. BMW, Honda and Suzuki reportedly also decided against bidding for Ducati.
So what would it mean if two of the world’s most storied marques were to come together? This wouldn’t be the first time Harley bought an Italian motorcycle manufacturer. It picked up beleaguered MV Agusta in 2008, unloading it just two years later for a tidy profit of…zero. Interestingly, former Ducati General Manager and Chief Engineer Massimo Bordi was the man at the helm of MV Agusta when Harley unloaded it, and one of the last things he’d done while at Ducati was to attempt to negotiate the sale of the brand to Harley.
You can read the original Reuters story here.
Harley has. not made a good bike since 2004 . An now they wanna screw up another great brand ! Harley’s bikes are made so cheap now the chrome flakes off half the thing isn’t made in the U.S.A anymore ! An they say it’s the all American motorcycle ! I call bullshit !
Very sad that Volkswagen’s deliberate attempt to fool the public and cheat emissions would result in the sale of an iconic brand that was on a great new model roll over the past 5 years. I bought a 2016 Monster 821 Stripe after test riding several bikes in that class and absolutely love that bike. I also own a 2014 Cross Country and, as we all know, Polaris killed Victory. Perhaps this is all my fault…
So Harley bought Buell, through it away after just a few years – and now they want to buy Ducati?
I don’t believe this rumor; it just doesn’t make any sense, given Harley’s past history.
HD is the wrong stewart for Ducati. Period.
It seems Polaris has wakened the sleeping giant, and now HD wants to expand into other markets, beyond cruisers. I applaud that, and just last month they could have bought all that remained of Buell……
If HD wants to head Indian off at the pass, they can, by developing their own products, and not trying to buy the ready made.
Polaris followed HD in shooting themselves in the foot; HD by kicking Buell to the curb and walking away from MV, and Polaris for killing Victory with a Slingshot ricochet, talk about David and Goliath, which could have been their Buell and oddly suffered the same fate….
Of the list of potential it seems that Ducati is headed for the twistes.
Harley seems to have this insatiable need to drive any other good motorcycle business they buy, into the ground. They couldn’t keep Buell afloat and that is a top rated performance machine. How could they manage Ducati. Of course they will have to try and slow the bike down so their own bikes won’t look so bad. Did you know that the Harley Davidson Drag Motorcycle does not have ANY Harley parts on it? It is a special S&S engine, with HD branding. (S&S made that engine for Victory, Buell, Polaris and Suzuki ! ). Ducati does make a profit. But VW has to pay off it’s fines for lying to the world about its “fixed for inspection” diesel cars.
Google up this title
“Inside the S&S Cycle Polaris Pro Stock Motorcycle Drag-Racing Engine”