Harley Davidson is in the frame to buy Ducati while Bajaj Auto was reported to be the only Indian manufacturer still in the hunt for a potential takeover
Famed US motorcycle manufacturer, Harley-Davidson, is said to be in the race for taking over another icon as Ducati could be theirs in a deal worth of up to $1.67 billion according to a report emerged on Reuters. The talks of global bike makers queuing up to buy the Italian brand refused to go away as some of Indian giants like Bajaj Auto are reported to be in the frame.
Following the diesel emission cheating scandal, Volkswagen was forced to cut down its expenditure in order to pay the penalties and compensations worth several millions worldwide and selling Ducati is part of that plan – a shame considering that it made revenues of 593 million euros last year. VW pulled out its WRC operations this year while Audi had to give up its LMP1 programme as well.
Back to Harley, which has tremendous heritage in the touring world with the big American spice, could afford to rev up its throttle by expanding into new businesses globally if the high-performance super bike maker Ducati is brought under its roof. It is reported that Goldman Sachs is hired by HD to see through the deal as tentative bids are likely by next month.
VW has partnered with investment boutique Evercore to work on the deal. The Bologna-based flamboyant bike maker is also in the likings of private equity funds like Permira, Bain Capital and KKR. Ducati celebrated its 90th anniversary last year and has endured overwhelming success in the field of motorsport – both MotoGP and WSBK. Harley-Davidson is one of the resilient US corporate for more than a century and survived through economical slowdowns and financial crisis.
But the Milwaukee-based outfit has had tough competition from brands like Indian Motorcycle and Honda in recent times. Indian companies like Hero MotoCorp and TVS had expressed interest initially in Ducati but the asking price was deemed to be too large and they decided to move on as per the same report.
Also decided against the bidding were BMW, Honda and Suzuki. The Ducati sale might not be finalised before this year’s EICMA show in Milan in October. With Bajaj having overturned the fortunes of KTM already, the takeover of Ducati would only strengthen its armoury.