According to a recent Reuters report, Harley-Davidson is considering making a bid to buy rival Ducati. The deal could be worth up to $1.67 billion. Several other groups are also preparing bids for the Italian motorcycle maker, which is being put up for sale by Volkswagen.
Harley-Davidson has hired Goldman Sachs to work on the deal, one source said, adding tentative bids were expected in July. Volkswagen, whose Audi division controls Ducati is working with investment boutique Evercore on the sale which will help it fund a strategic overhaul following its emissions scandal.
Harley-Davidson, which commands about half the U.S. big-bike market, has seen demand for its motorcycles continue to decline as its loyal baby boomer demographic ages and competitors such as Indian and Honda offer discounts.
Volkswagen’s labor unions, which control half the seats on its supervisory board, are opposed to selling the Italian company. “Ducati is a jewel, the sale of which is not supported by the labor representatives on Volkswagen’s supervisory board,” a spokesman for VW group’s works council said. “Harley-Davidson is miles behind Ducati in technology terms,” he added.
In 2016, Ducati delivered 55,451 motorcycles to customers all over the world, an increase of 1.2% compared to 2015. The U.S. is Ducati’s biggest market, with customers receiving a total of 8,787 new bikes in 2016.