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MV Back in Italian Hands: Harley Completes Sale

The Castiglioni family, active in the passionate manufacture of Italian motorcycles for decades, have repurchased MV Agusta from Harley-Davidson.  Claudio Castiglioni will be reunited with Massimo Bordi, the engineer who helped Claudio develop iconic Ducatis.  Here is the press release from MV Agusta.

Varese, August 6th 2010 – Claudio and Giovanni Castiglioni, through their family holding company have repurchased from Harley Davidson 100% of the shares of MV Agusta Motor S.p.A. which owns historic brands MV Agusta and Cagiva. Harley-Davidson announced in October 2009 its intention to sell MV Agusta to concentrate on its core business and brand.

In connection with the repurchase transaction Lazard and Co. have acted as the financial advisor along with counsel Alessandro Varrenti (CBA) and Giuseppe Galeano whom provided legal and tax assistance in conjunction with family counsellors Giuseppe Carteni (Leadlaw), Andrea Lanata and Sergio Caramella.

Along with Giovanni Castiglioni, the company will be headed by Mr. Massimo Bordi, a well known Italian manager. A 62-year-old engineer, Bordi took Ducati to success during the years when that company was owned by the Castiglionis and continued to manage it successfully under the ownership of Texas Pacific Group. Since 2003 Massimo Bordi has been the CEO of Same Deutz Fahr, contributing largely to the success of the company. Massimo Bordi commented that “MV Agusta has full capacity to once again become a major player in the high luxury brand motor bikes, this brand is one of the most recognized worldwide. We will implement a number of reorganization and managerial actions in the near future.

Both the current and new models under development have a very strong character, great innovative features and a very unique design, I have no doubts about their future success.” Claudio Castiglioni, the historic intimate soul of MV Agusta will continue as chairman, and will concentrate on the development of the new products. Upon signing the agreement with Harley-Davidson, Claudio Castiglioni stated “MV Agusta is the crown jewel of Italian motorcycles, I am thrilled to have completed this transaction. I have already won once together with Massimo Bordi, we made the most beautiful bikes in the world and we will continue with this tradition”.


  1. Roberto P says:

    HD continues to be fascinating. It is normal to look around for investments and new markets. To meet luck and serendipitous opportunities one has to move, even affording the risk to loose money on some ventures. However I’m really wondering why HD do not uses proprietary know how and glamour to develop more human motorcycles by downsizing both their motorcycles and engines. Just make a small 500cc scrambler and make lots of money worldwide by selling it at no more than 4.000 dollars! It seems the current worldwide economic crisis is not going to quit soon: it is time to downsize. The bad accident in the gulf of Maxico also suggest to go towards this direction. Turning to the moving: it seems to me the leading models to be followed today are not missiles manufacturers but other fascinating brands like Royal Enfield.

  2. Vroooom says:

    Man that had to be a financially disasterous transaction. I had been thinking that while MV and Buell were not a fit, they might have resulted in some trickle down technology helping make Harley’s a bit more interesting to the younger crowd. Frankly I hated going to Harley dealers to check out Buell’s, the sales staff treated you like you were going to pay with food stamps. I see Harley continuing as always, but with market share dwindling except for the “image” wear, with bandanas, t-shirts, and truck stickers continuing to grow exponentially.

  3. Rick says:

    One wonders why HD didn’t crush the MVs into coffee table cubes? I glad to see that HD is going to concentrate on it’s core business….selling T-shirts!

  4. MIke L says:

    “A little love” is all Buell needed? Sheesh, they lost about a BILLION dollars on Buell

    • mpolans says:

      This isn’t true. Also, Harley really screwed Buell by selling the in Harley dealers, who usually knew nothing about Buells and frequently tried to “up sell” potential customers to a Harley.

  5. jerrylee says:

    Gee just when I was hoping for a “Willie G” signature F4! My guess is they were never able to get the ape hanger clip-ons to work the way they wanted.

    I hope they can patch up differences and get Tamborini back.

  6. Justin says:

    If Harley had bought MV Agusta in mid-2007 or earlier, I might have been encouraged. Back then, expansion and the opening of new dealerships was part of their business model. Buell and MV Agusta under the same corporate umbrella was enough to get excited about, even anchored to H-D. Harley provides a solid brand that is always going to be able to sell something to somebody just because of their image, and all those t-shirts and bandannas would keep the cash flow going while real American sportbikes were being developed.

    But now that the boom economy has taken a complete dump all over whatever plans the MoCo had, Harley is looking to contract.

    But how they expected to make good off of this purchase in 2008, after the downturn was clearly in effect, is a mystery to me. Is there anybody out there who can explain how this was a good idea?

  7. Dave says:

    Harley’s threat to move must be their way of putting the screws to the union to renegotiate contracts that are more favorable to Harley. I’m sure they’re willing to put their money where their mouth is if it comes down to it.

    Harley needs to continue working to appeal to a broader demographic, the XR1200 is a step in the right direction. I was liking the new Superlow Sportster, with it’s modern sized tubeless tires, but with a name like ‘Superlow’, of course it is reported to have minimal cornering clearance.

    Harley, can you build a bike with the classic styling and high level of fit and finish you are known for with gratifying handling, decent power and comfortable ergos we expect in a modern motorcycle? You’ve made a good start by bringing out the XR1200, but now it’s time to continue the trend of modernization. There’s no need to abandon the current classics. Look at Triumph with it’s successful product mix of modern and retro bikes. It can be done, but you’ll need to push your comfort zone, bring in some outside help, and most of all, have faith to stick it out. Not every new model will be a hit, but I urge you to fight the good fight. I’d love to want to buy a Harley that I can ride all day, but will still be fun in the twisties and nice to look at when I stop for a break.

  8. Don M. says:

    Associated Press:

    Harley-Davidson warned employees in April that it will move its Wisconsin manufacturing operations elsewhere if it cannot cut millions of dollars at the factories that build the bikes known as “Milwaukee Iron.”

    Harley’s corporate headquarters would remain there, but that’s small consolation to a community that already has endured repeated blows to its civic identity.

    Read more:

  9. Don M. says:

    HD would’ve only screwed ’em up. Happy to see MV will be viable again.

    Also, FWIW, HD is threatening it’s Milwaukee workers with MOVING. Will decide in 2 months. No clue given as to where….maybe China? LMAO!

    Harley Davidson has lost their mind! Move Wilwaukee, you’re DEAD!! Not that I care, I ride a Kawi’

  10. mrsdoubtfire says:

    Does this mean I will not get to see a V-TWIN MV or a INLINE-4 HD? LOL.

  11. John says:

    Lets see, buy MV at the top of the economy and sell it during the low. Makes total sense to me.

  12. Bob says:

    HD is at a dead end without Buell or MV to inspire innovation. All of the people that are making HD huge aren’t long for the grave and the younger types appreciate performance, style, and comfort. IE, most will be looking to other makes as they mature.

  13. Andrew150 says:

    This was foolish on HD’s part. Their vision for expansion of the MoCco by marketing only cruisers is flawed. They had an opportunity to really reach a totally new demographic but they fumbled the ball by selling MV.

  14. Cal Harling says:

    The sale price for MV was 1 euro. That puts Harley’s losses for this fiasco at around $100 million.

    • Rick says:

      WOW! HD made more money on the MV sale than the Buell deal! HD continues to go down the tubes! The supply of old fat guys with 20K to waste is running thin these days! Good luck to MV. It’s a shame that HD didn’t sell Buell back to Eric for a buck!

  15. Ron says:

    It would be interesting to see the finances around this. What did HD pay for MV, and how much did they recoup in the sale?

  16. Otis Miller says:

    Buell, 4% of HD’s sales, only 1% of their profit. That is the reason why Buell is gone! I have no clue why HD bought MV Agusta, but I am sure they took a beating on the sale.

  17. As a guy who owned and loved four Buells in the last 10 years, I still can’t figure out what HD has been doing.

    I sold my Buells and bought a new Street Triple R. I tested the XR1200, but it felt like a tractor compared to my Triumph….and I used to spend a lot of time on a tractor, so I know what they feel like! 😉 -michael

  18. Tom says:

    Harley should only make Harleys forever. Just like Porsche should make Porsches forever. Very unoffending upgrades and iterations now and then, but it’s still a Harley or a Porsche, and there will always be someone around to buy one. Very good business plan, actually. Harley shouldn’t worry about motocross and GP racing, Porsche shouldn’t bother themselves with commuter cars and pickup trucks.

    • Justin says:

      I agree with you to a certain extent. The Porsche SUV and four-door sedan are just awful. I personally wish they would just stick to making rear- and mid-engined sports cars. But Porsche is such an upmarket brand, they can sell to people with a lot of money.

      But this: Porsche now use water-cooled engines in all models. They’ve always been ahead of the curve technologically, except for that little piece of nostalgia in the back end of the Carrera for all those years.

      Not that there isn’t room for air-cooled engines on modern motorcycles; I’m simply suggesting/hoping that Harley take an interest in all the technology they’ve been avoiding over the years.

  19. kpaul says:

    Well I sold my HD stock before the crash. Perfect timing. Don’t understand their business plan/model now after they killed their future, Buell. Harley’s AARP customer demographics and high labor costs make HD stock a bad choice. They can be profitable in the future but their market share will decline as Gen X and Ys get more money and take their disposable income elsewhere and boomers start taking pension and social security checks. i.e Harley will produce less but keep prices so they can make a profit, albeit nothing like the glory days.. Great to see MV survive in Italian hands. But I wouldn’t by MV stock if I could. Think Ducati and Aprilia will survive till 2020. Not sure MV, Moto Guzzi, etc will make it to 2020.

  20. morpheus says:

    Good, they needed to get it done. Its not the direction they want to go and frankly, trying to deal with the soap opera that is Italian manufacturing seems to me it would be more headache than it could ever possibly be worth.

  21. Uffe Kristiansen says:

    Great news! Maybe we won’t see MV coffe mugs, MV teddy bears and MV bandanas after all then.

  22. Bruce says:

    Now i hate to flame on the Net like so many do, but this just leaves no choice. What braniac at Harley-friggin-Davidson thought it would be a good idea to take MV Agusta? Let’s ignore that fact that Buell was more than viable with a little love, and ask ourselves what possible good could have come from H-D MV?

    Seriously, that’s like hearing about KFC buying and relaunching Ruth’s Chris steakhouse.

    Thank the gods that someone at H-D realized what an aweful idea this was in the first place. That being said… Harley, please continue to develop your own lineup of exciting bikes that people are interested in… IMHO, the XR1200 is a great start.

  23. Randy Singer says:

    I’m wondering what sort of loss Harley took to give MV back to its original owners. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that they sold it back for a tiny fraction of the price that they paid for it.

  24. Dave says:

    Harley-Davidson: shuts down Buell, sells MV Agusta. What are they thinking? HARLEYFAIL.

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