It looks like Indian companies are not the only potential buyers for Italian motorcycle brand Ducati– owned by Volkswagen. Soon after reports emerged saying Ducati is up for sale, Indian two-wheeler giants Hero MotoCorp and Royal Enfield were believed to be good prospects to acquire the brand. Now, new reports suggest American motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson has also entered the race.
Reuters claims the Milwaukee-based iconic motorcycle brand is lining up to take over Ducati in a deal that could be worth up to 1.5 billion euros ($ 1.67 billion). If the deal goes through, two famous names in motorcycling industry will come under one umbrella. The deal makes perfect sense since Ducati and Harley-Davidson models are largely not direct rivals. Harley focusses on classic and touring bikes while Ducati range is known for performance bikes.
Harley-Davidson reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to work on the deal and tentative bids are expected in July. Volkswagen group– which is on an overhaul mode after the infamous emissions scandal in September 2015— is working with investment boutique Evercore to sell off Ducati.
The news comes at a time Harley-Davidson’s US sales is seeing a blip owing to the stiff competition from Indian Motorcycle brand Polaris Industries and Japan’s Honda Motor Co Ltd. Buying Ducati will help Harley to grow beyond its core market in the US.
However, VW’s labour unions are against the sales of Ducati. “Ducati is a jewel, the sale of which is not supported by the labour representatives on Volkswagen’s supervisory board,” a spokesman for VW group’s works council told Reuters.
VW-owned Audi acquired Ducati for around 860 million Euros (over Rs. 6,000 crore) in 2012 and currently the superbike brand stands at a rough valuation of 1.5 billion Euros, which is almost 15 times its core earnings.