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Harley-Davidson Eyes Ducati Sale

Yes. You read that correctly.

Ducati Motor Holding is on sale, and America’s most iconic company, Harley-Davidson, is interested.

The Milwaukee-Based brand known for its cruisers has hired Goldman Sachs to work on the financials. Bids for Ducati, which was bought by Volkswagen in 2012 for $1.13 billion, are expected in July.

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The price? A reported $1.67 billion (1.5 billion Euros).

Ducati For Sale: Harley-Davidson is Interested
2017 Harley-Davidson X-Diavel

Volkswagen is currently working with investment management company Evercore. The sale of Ducati, which is controlled by VW’s Audi division, arrives after VW’s diesel emissions scandal that cost the company billions.

Harley-Davidson had a sour experience in the past with Italian motorcycle manufacturers after it purchased MV Agusta for $109 million (mostly debt) in 2008. Two years later, after cleaning up MV Agusta’s debt, Harley sold the Italian manufacturer back to the Castiglioni family, which continue to own MV Agusta today.

This news also aligns with Harley-Davidson’s bold initiatives, which were reported in Harley’s  2017 Q1 financial report.

Harley says its 10-year growth strategy focuses on five objectives:

  • Build two million new Harley-Davidson riders in the U.S.
  • Grow international business to 50 percent of annual volume
  • Launch 100 new, high-impact motorcycles, which begin with the new Street Rod and Road King Special
  • Deliver superior return on invested capital for Harley-Davidson Motor Company (S&P 500 top 25%)
  • Grow the business without growing its environmental impact

Reuters reports that KKR, Bain Capital, and Permira are also interested in buying Ducati, and that BMW Motorrad, Suzuki and Honda passed up bids on Ducati.

Ducati has grown steadily under Volkswagen ownership. The Borgo Panigale-based brand had a record-breaking year in 2016, selling over 55,000 motorcycles to customers worldwide. Growth was positive across all markets, including in America, which is Ducati’s largest market where nearly 8,800 bikes were sold.

Ducati, which is present in 90 countries and employees around 1,600 employees, is looking to build upon those numbers in 2017 with the release of seven new models:  the revised Monster 1200, Monster 797, Multistrada 950, SuperSport, 1299 Superleggera, Cafe Racer and Desert Sled.