Skip to content

Harley linked to Ducati buyout | Manufacture News | News

Okay, there’s barely a brand around that hasn’t been rumoured to be in the process of buying Ducati, and the latest word is that Harley-Davidson has thrown its hat into the ring.

That Ducati is up for sale is well known. Its parent company, Volkswagen, has been looking to off-load non-core parts of its empire since getting caught up in the dieselgate scandal and, as its only motorcycle marque, Ducati is in the firing line.

But it ain’t a fire-sale. VW wants to see a return on its investment and, having bought Ducati for about 860 million (A$1.3 billion) in 2012, it now wants in the region of 1.4-1.5 billion.

VW this year hired Evercore Partners to explore potential buyers and since then names including Royal Enfield, TVS, Bajaj and Hero – all Indian brands – have been named as possible suitors, as have some non-bike companies.

Now Harley-Davidson looks a possisble front-runner. Press agency Reuters reports unnamed sources as claiming Harley has employed Goldman Sachs to pull a deal together.

While there’s no doubting Harley-Davidson’s financial clout, the firm’s previous dabbling with sportsbike brands might make Ducati fans nervous. Harley has previously owned Buell and MV Agusta, and opted to close the former in 2009 when the financial crisis hit.

A Harley buyout would represent another U-turn in the company’s thinking.

Under the wing of VW, Ducati has blossomed into a technology leader (from which H-D would greatly benefit), with an enviable racing arm, a rich heritage and, important to Harley, a hugely recognisable brand.

Vitally, Ducati doesn’t compete directly with Harley and between the two companies there’s a massive spread of motorcycles to appeal to pretty much every rider.

By Ben Purvis