Harley-Davidson Wants to Take Over Ducati ?
Demand for Harleys is sinking, and VW Group needs to raise cash. Could the Italian bike builder end up in the hands of Milwaukee’s motor company?
A few months ago, we reported that Volkswagen was considering putting motorcycle builder Ducati up for sale. VW Group purchased Ducati via Audi back in 2012 when the automaker was riding high, but the ever-escalating costs of its diesel-emissions cheating scandal are forcing the German group to cut back on expenses. Now, Reuters reports that Harley-Davidson is working on a bid to buy the legendary Italian company.
Anonymous sources told Reuters that Ducati could be worth up to €1.5 billion ($1.67 billion USD) and that Harley-Davidson has hired Goldman Sachs for help with the deal. Harley’s not the only company interested in Ducati: Indian motorcycle company Bajaj Auto is also reportedly eyeing a bid, as is Investindustrial, the investment group that originally sold Ducati to Audi.
Harley-Davidson and others are expected to place first bids for Ducati next month, but Reuters reports that VW might hold onto the brand until after this year’s EICMA Motorcycle Show, set to be held in Milan this November. Reuters also reports that BMW, Suzuki, and Honda won’t place bids for Ducati.
VW and Audi have yet to confirm publicly that Ducati is on the market, but all signs point to its sale. The German automaker has said repeatedly that it would cut “non-essential” elements of its business in the wake of the diesel cheating scandal, and Ferdinand Piech, the former VW Group chairman who championed the Ducati purchase, has left the company.
Reuters notes that Harley-Davidson has a huge market share in the US, but faces sinking demand for its products due to an aging customer base and competitive products from Honda and Indian.
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