Harley-Davidson Among Bidders To Buy Italian Ducati

Numerous sources state that Harley-Davidson is lining up a takeover bid for Italian Ducati put up for sale by German carmaker Volkswagen, potentially bringing together two of the most famous names in motorcycling in a deal that could be worth up to 1.5 billion euros ($1.67 billion) Others are also preparing to bid: Bajaj Auto (BAJA.NS) and several buyout funds. Tentative bids are expected in July. VW hopes to raise between 1.4 and 1.5 billion euros from the sale of Ducati, valuing it at 14-15 times its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of about 100 million euros. A source close to VW said the sale of Ducati may not be finalized before the annual EICMA motorcycle show in Milan in mid-November as VW wants to find the right buyer and the sales process may take time.

32 Responses to “Harley-Davidson Among Bidders To Buy Italian Ducati”

  1. 1 NoH2Oh Jun 21st, 2017 at 11:11 am

    I am guessing for the dealer network? 😀

  2. 2 Dee Jun 21st, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    So they didn’t learn anything from the Buell or MV Agusta debacles? Harley needs to stick to American cruisers. That’s what they are good at.

  3. 3 Paulie Jun 21st, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    I am guessing. For everything. Technology, bikes, younger and sportier image, network of dealers etc.

  4. 4 P. Hamilton Jun 21st, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Hope that Harley has learned with the MV Agusta buyout

  5. 5 Dante's 9th Jun 21st, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Please please please H especially in light of your declining bottom line do not buy into an Italian money pit that hasn’t made a dollar / lire / euro of profit since the 80’s regardless of how iconic the brand might be or how exotic/fast their bikes are . As was proven with your M/V debacle the likes of Ducati even if they were profitable are way outta yer league . e.g. Stick with the BudLight crowd leaving the Multipulciano set to the pros .

    Va bene – Ciao 😎

  6. 6 mkv Jun 21st, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Match made in Marketing Heaven right there. Both brands are synonymous to lifestyle image. Both brands are similar yet unique to each other. This needs to happen

  7. 7 Lyle Landstrom Jun 21st, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Why not just bring back Buell?

  8. 8 BobS Jun 21st, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    I hope this doesn’t happen. I think Harley is finally making a decent bike now, but let’s face it, all through their history they’ve utterly sucked at everything except appealing to their core customer. And even then they’ve needed multiple government bailouts. This sounds like a disaster in the making. If another motorcycle manufacturer is going to buy Ducati let it be KTM, BMW, or one of the Japanese brands, probably Kawasaki.

  9. 9 J Jun 21st, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    If it’s such a great deal, then why is it for sale? When was the last time Ducati made any money?

  10. 10 Mike Jun 21st, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    In the vein of history repeating itself, I can’t wait until Harley forces Ducati to put an evo motor inside a ducati framed bike. And then also decides to relegate Ducati’s to the back corner of the showroom. Then when Buell, er uh, I mean Ducati goes belly up Harley CEO will scratch his head.

  11. 11 James just another crazy kiwi Jun 21st, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Harley Davidson would have close to the most complete MC Dealership network World wide.

    Maybe they think they could sell a whole lot more Ducati’s….Possibly could ?

    Is not the scrambler the biggest selling Duck ? Maybe rebadge it or put that and the Diavel in HD show rooms. It’s all about numbers and getting manufacturing costs manageable.

  12. 12 H Jun 21st, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    For all the people asking “When was the last time Ducati made any money?” The answer is in the article you just read… If they are trying to get a price 15 times higher than EBITDA, and that price is 1.5 billion, then their EBITDA was 100 million dollars last year. That’s not “no money” . For comparisons sake, Polaris Industries was at 436 million, Triumph (2015) was at 32 million, and HD was at 1.14 billion EBITDA.

  13. 13 H Jun 21st, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Not implying I think HD should be buying Ducati btw. But Ducati isn’t exactly a dead company either.

  14. 14 inverse1216 Jun 21st, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    guess volkswagen needs to recoup some of that money from their diesel lawsuit.

  15. 15 Kyle Jun 21st, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Interesting but I am not really sure HD would understand Ducati and the culture behind the bikes. Buell would have been the way to go. An america muscle racer (????)

  16. 16 Sharkey Jun 21st, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    Buell was never “iconic” and never stellar at anything other than being a quirky bike in the WRONG showroom…I never experienced ANY enthusiasm for the brand in any dealership I ever visited. Ducati, at least, comes with it’s own panache; although I can’t see it being properly marketed in any HD showroom I’ve ever seen. This will be interesting…

  17. 17 SYF Jun 21st, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    BobS. Multiple government bailouts? I recall a tariff in the 1983-85 era, but what other government bailouts has H-D got?

  18. 18 seymour Jun 22nd, 2017 at 6:27 am

    Buying it to kill it maybe

  19. 19 coma Jun 22nd, 2017 at 6:59 am

    Haha! This must be the joke of the week. Anyone remember MV Agusta? Classic case of clash of the cultures. If they want a serious American road bike, they should just give Eric Buell a call, I always thought giving up Buell was a major mistake. BTW: What happened to the much taunted electric bike? This seems a much better place to sink a lot of money in.

  20. 20 Charles Jun 22nd, 2017 at 7:32 am

    Yes, why not take that money and invest it in Lithium battery and Electric bike R & D? So like Polaris, every dealer will sell 24 Ducati’s a year? Glad I don’t have HD stock.

  21. 21 Kerry Jun 22nd, 2017 at 8:35 am

    I see more complementarity with Polaris. Not bidding for Ducati?

  22. 22 Junman Jun 22nd, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Buying Ducati would be about as futile as bringing the VR1000 back for Superbike racing. Stick to what you know H-D.

  23. 23 BobS Jun 22nd, 2017 at 10:19 am

    SYF, between 2008 and 2010 H-D went to the federal government several times for loans they needed to keep the doors open, but couldn’t get through private banks. These loans totaled about 2.3 billion dollars. So yes both in the mid 80’s and then multiple times around 2010 Harley needed government assistance to survive.
    I rip on them where I think it’s deserved, but I also try and give credit where it’s due. In the early to mid 2000’s their bikes pretty much sucked. Shitty frames, weak motors, crappy brakes. And worthless suspensions. They got out of MV Agusta and killed of Buell to focus on their core business and now look where we are, Harley Davidson cruisers that are literally better in every catagory. My advice to Harley would be don’t go back to try again what you already failed at, do more of what you’re already succeeding at. You want more customers, we all get that. And we already know that the core customers will continue to buy as long as it looks and sounds like a Harley. So how about a 150 hp Street Glide that can run canyons with a Kawi Concourse 14? Or a Dyna that can drag race a Ninja? Why can’t cruisers be fast? Do that and you will preserve your core and attract more of the 50% of the market that doesn’t ride cruiser into the showrooms.

  24. 24 Mikea Jun 22nd, 2017 at 10:39 am

    And giving money to poor people will make them healthy, wealthy, and wise.

  25. 25 GeezerRider Jun 22nd, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Every year for the last 3-4 HDMC has fired/retired hundreds of great employees. They have eliminated many support personnel and many dealer programs that their dealer network relied on. They have demoted employees to decrease their payroll responsibility. They have squeezed their suppliers to a dangerous level. They continue to produce motorcycles with many safety recalls, which indicates poor design or cheap parts or both. Historically, they purchased Holiday Rambler and lost money. Bought Buell motorcycles and lost money. And, more recently purchased MV Agusta 30-days after firing 1500 HDMC employees during the recession, and then sold MV Agusta a few years later for $20 with a 20-million line of credit for the buyer. Estimates are that HDMC spent over 50-million for the MV Agusta debacle. All that has affected morale among all connected to HDMC to the point that it’s the worst I’ve experienced since the 60’s. Now Levitach and his cronies are considering buying Ducati? It would be a joke if it wasn’t so tragic. Shareholders need to oust Levitach and his blind executive followers and get some Harley enthusiasts in there that respect their employees, dealers, suppliers and die-hard followers. Aside from all that – HDMC would ruin the prestigious Ducati brand. Just look at where MV Agusta is today. How sad would that be?

  26. 26 1550tc Jun 22nd, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Do it 2 icnonic brands

    one low tech and one hi tech…….marriage made for divorce , kinda like your wife and mistress meeting

    Comparing Buell and Ducati…………come guys, get real …

  27. 27 Gym Jun 22nd, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    I went to the store the other day and looked at new battery powered tools but left with a small bag of hardware. The same could be the case of HD and Ducati.

  28. 28 Chief Waldo Jun 22nd, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    In two years, they’d sell it back to VW for one euro…

  29. 29 rebel Jun 23rd, 2017 at 12:03 am

    good bluff, but i kinda like Ducati’s

  30. 30 hj Jun 23rd, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Would that increase styles?

  31. 31 Mdsphoto Jun 25th, 2017 at 7:20 am

    I’ll beat that dead horse. MV, Buell, etc., HD has proven they can’t do anything beyond their core business and trying it again is just an exercise in futility.

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