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July 11, 2008

Harley-Davidson confirmed to take over MV Agusta/Cagiva

Harley eats Italian

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Harley-Davidson announced today the signing of an agreement to purchase the Italian motorcycle maker MV Agusta Group. Under the agreement, Harley-Davidson will acquire 100 percent of MV Agusta shares for approximately 70 million Euros ($112 million CAD), which includes the payment of an existing bank debt for approximately 45 million euros ($72 million CAD).

The deal also provides for a contingent payment to Claudio Castiglioni (owner of 95% of MV Agusta shares) in 2016, if certain financial targets are met. The take-over is expected to close in a few weeks, pending the agreement of certain contingencies and receipt of regulatory approvals. Harley-Davidson intends to fund the transaction primarily through euro-denominated debt.

“Motorcycles are the heart, soul and passion of Harley-Davidson, Buell and MV Agusta,” said Harley-Davidson CEO Jim Ziemer. “Both have great products and close connections with incredibly devoted customers. The MV Agusta and Cagiva brands are well-known and highly regarded in Europe. They are synonymous with beautiful, premium, Italian performance motorcycles,” Ziemer said.

According to Ziemer, the acquisition is intended primarily to expand Harley-Davidson’s presence in Europe, complementing the Harley-Davidson and Buell motorcycle families. Retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles have grown at a double-digit rate in Europe in each of the last three years, as the Company has increased its strategic focus on global markets. 

Harley-Davidson plans to continue to operate MV Agusta Group from its headquarters in Varese, Italy. The first priority will be to appoint a leadership team that will include a new Managing Director and to continue the manufacture of current models.

Current MV Agusta Chairman Claudio Castiglioni will continue in a leadership role in future product development. Design Chief Massimo Tamburini will continue his leadership of MV Agusta Group’s world leading sport-bike design studio.