Rumormill: Harley-Davidson Considering Buying Ducati
Harley-Ducatison? An updated Sprint? Who knows?
Word on the street is that Harley might snap up Ducati in the not-so-distant future. Yes, it’s simply a rumor so far, and like so much industry gossip will likely turn out to be no more than that. But, since similar scuttlebutt has been circulating lately about Volkswagen AG looking to unload the Italian marque to help cover its emssionsgate debacle, who knows?
According to Reuters, Harley-Davidson is considering a $1.67 billion deal to acquire Italian motorcycle maker Ducati. The story’s undisclosed sources report that Milwaukee has hired Goldman Sachs to work on the deal, and that possible bids may come as soon as next month. Volkswagen AG, Ducati’s current owner, is at work with the investment company Evercore fixing the fallout created by their recent emissions scandal. Sources say that one money-saving trick VAG is looking at is selling Ducati to free up some capital, which is where this whole rumor originated.
Please bring us a new Sprint!
While Harley-Davidson is widely credited with control of nearly half the touring/cruiser markets in the U.S., its bottom line has been slipping steadily for the past couple years. This decline is accounted for largely by the rising success of Polaris and its aggressive development and marketing of the Indian Motorcycle brand. Whether or not Harley has the financial horsepower to acquire the Italian sportbike builder remains to be seen, but their need to expand their market demographic has been widely noted.
The Reuters report also indicated that Harley-Davidson isn’t the only prospective bidder for Ducati. Bajaj Auto of India, the world’s largest manufacturer of three-wheelers and sixth largest for motorcycles, has also expressed interest. Several other large buyout funds are also reportedly preparing to get in the game. Also, apparently Investindustrial, the company that sold Ducati to VAG in 2012, is also looking…