Harley Making Bid to Buy Ducati? Reuters Report Creates Internet Buzz

Harley-Ducati

Is Harley-Davidson preparing to make a bid on Italian manufacturer Ducati? Inquiring minds want to know!

Reuters, an international news agency based in London, England, created quite a stir on the internet today with the headline “Harley-Davidson enters race to buy Italian rival Ducati: sources.”

The report, written by Pamela Barbaglia, says that Harley-Davidson is throwing its hat into the ring against other industry heavyweights like Bajaj Auto to place a takeover bid for the Italian motorcycle manufacturer, adding that the deal could be worth up to 1.5 billion Euros ($1.67 billion). The Reuters’ report also states that Harley has hired Goldman Sachs to help broker the deal.

Volkswagen’s Audi division has been the overseers of Ducati since it acquired the company from Investindustrial in 2012. A separate storyline that’s been circulating around the Ducati rumor mill is the launch of a V4 Superbike this fall.

The Reuters report did not list any specific references stating only that all of its information came from unnamed sources. Before dismissing it as purely speculative though, Harley-Davidson has purchased European motorcycle companies in the past. The timeline on the Harley-Davidson Museum website states in 1960 “Harley-Davidson purchases a half interest in Aeronatica-Macchi, forming Aermacchi Harley-Davidson, a European division that will produce small, single cylinder motorcycles.”

More recently Harley owned MV Agusta. MV Agusta’s Wikipedia post reads “On July 11, 2008, Harley-Davidson announced they had signed a definitive agreement to acquire the MV Agusta Group for US $109 million (€70m), completing the acquisition on August 8, 2008.

On October 15, 2009, Harley-Davidson announced that it would divest its interest in MV Agusta and on August 6, 2010, it announced that MV Agusta had been sold to Claudio Castiglioni and his wholly owned holding company, MV Agusta Motor Holding, S.r.l.”

Editor-in-Chief Buzz Kanter posted his thoughts about the situation on American Iron Magazine’s Facebook page.

“Just heard a crazy rumor that Harley might be trying to buy Ducati. I say crazy because Harley has already owned Italian motorcycle companies a few times and each time it did not turn out well. Anyone remember the Harley-Aermacchis in the 1960s and ’70s? Or the Harley/MV Agusta deal a decade or so ago? I don’t see Ducati as a good fit with Harley, and possibly a massive distraction.”

And so the rumor mill will churn until bidding for Ducati begins in July.