The internet rumor machine is exploding today after a report from Reuters indicated that Harley-Davidson has expressed interest in purchasing Ducati. The only source of this information is from anonymous Reuters sources.

We contacted the Motor Company and were awarded exactly what we expected: “Harley-Davidson does not comment on future speculations.” Our Ducati media rep has yet to return our calls.

Also in the Reuters report is another anonymous source stating that Goldman Sachs has been hired to negotiate the transaction, and that an offer for Ducati could be made as soon as next month.

It’s been nearly two months since it was revealed that Ducati might be on the block as a way to help parent company, Volkswagen/Audi, to pay off the billion-euro fines for its Dieselgate emissions debacle. Early potential suitors included various Chinese firms and, from India, Bajaj, Hero MotoCorp and even Royal Enfield. Also interested were several private equity funds, including Ducati’s old owners, InvestIndustrial.

Could Ducati Be Sold To Royal Enfield

Could Ducati Be Up For Sale Again

Reuters’ sources indicate VW is hoping to sell Ducati for about 1.5 billion euros (nearly $1.7 billion USD), which would be a tidy profit from the $935 million price Audi paid for Ducati in 2012.

Investindustrial To Sell Ducati

Some investors have reportedly balked at paying 15 times Ducati’s earnings (EBITDA) of around $100 million to purchase the legendary Italian company. Reuters’ sources say Hero and TVS Motor Company have backed away from any sort of deal, and BMW, Honda and Suzuki have also pulled out of consideration, according to, again, Reuters’ sources.

That leads us back to Harley-Davidson, which has had a recent history of making huge profits of selling bikes and t-shirts to millions of people who, generally speaking, are aging at a pace that will see many of them stepping out of the moto market over the next decade or so. Ducati’s reputation for performance and a youthful persona might be a way for the MoCo to remain relevant to a younger demographic.

That said, Harley’s purchase of MV Agusta in 2008 was money poorly spent for the Milwaukee manufacturer, as it eventually sold back the company to its previous owner, Claudio Castiglioni, for a song in 2010.

HD  Announces Purchase Of MV Agusta

Harley-Davidson Sells MV Agusta

Could Harley again be interested in acquiring an iconic Italian sportbike manufacturer? Well, it could, but it might simply be a case of once burned, twice shy.

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  • Rule10b5

    Well, that’s certainly an easy way to ensure I never buy another Ducati.

    • DickRuble

      I can see Ducati owning, starbucks sipping dentists rubbing elbows with Harley riding, homeowner robbing HVAC contractors.

    • TheMarvelous1310

      If all it takes for you to not buy a thing is for a company you don’t like to bankroll it-not an unscrupulous or malicious or even an insolvent company, just one you don’t like!-you don’t deserve a freaking Ducati. At least give them time to mess everything up!

  • Sentinel

    Oh, yeah, they did such a “great” job with Buell… 🙁

    • spiff

      MV was no better.

    • Mike Kemp

      Jeez. Beat me to it.

  • Buzz

    Reuters has about as much credibility as Business Insider.

  • spiff

    Harley would hurt the Ducati brand and lose money in the process.

    • DickRuble

      I think what Harley did with MV was to borrow the $100M they used to buy the brand. When they “sold for a song” they simply handed over the brand, loaded with all, or most of the debt. Hence, the problems MV is facing now. Harley lost some feathers in the deal but not nearly $100M, I think. Can they swing the same with $1.7B?

  • Craig Hoffman

    If this does happen, the money types will gut Ducati and eventually sell it’s dried out shell at a profit. That would be a shame.

    • DickRuble

      This would be a great play for private equity. Load it up with debt, then simply bankrupt it.

  • john phyyt

    Just exactly where are the synergies?? ..

    • Sayyed Bashir


      • DickRuble

        Except Harley is not in the motorcycle business..

        • Sayyed Bashir

          It is in the lifestyle business, same as Ducati.

      • Douglas

        Well, picture this……a Diavel with apes & a sissy bar….and a batwing.

        • John A. Stockman

          Please, no. I am attempting to purge that image from my mind…

  • John B.

    Man, I don’t want Harley to buy Ducati!


    1.5 billion euros is not 1.7 million USD. Harley needs to worry about Harley.


    Edna baby. You like Tiffany will do better here by changing your avatar to spread eagle full naked. Don’t go away mad just go away.

    • Larry Kahn

      Well she shows some cleavage as a teaser, pretty sure the rest is there on her classmates half-sister’s site. There’s quite a few like that I’ve learned. Seem like nice girls.

  • Jon Jones


  • allworld

    HD couldn’t handle Buell, couldn’t handle MV Agusta, there is no way in hell, they can handle Ducati and the people who buy and ride them……….
    If they want to expand into other markets, design and build their own entries.

  • Larry Kahn

    Will it result in hydraulic valve lifter Ducati’s or desmo Harleys? Lose-lose huh.

  • TWB

    “Reuters’ sources indicate VW is hoping
    to sell Ducati for about 1.5 billion euros (nearly $1.7 million USD),
    which would be a tidy profit from the $935 million price Audi paid for
    Ducati in 2012”

    New math? It took away the urge to bother with reading the article. Cred anyone?

    • Kevin Duke

      Billion, million – it’s just one letter… 😉 And it’s now fixed.

  • Vrooom

    Harley has been a disaster at buying sporting motorcycle companies and integrating them into their brand. You’d think they’d do something good with MV Augusta, no. EBR, nope. If they do this they need to maintain the Ducati dealerships, not try to sell the bikes out of a Harley store. The culture clash would be unheard of.

    • azicat

      A G U S T A

  • Starmag

    I can hardly wait for the first road test of the Desmo Glide Deluxe.

    Yes, it made me a bit nauseous to type that.

  • Track Junkie

    What does Harley know about building performance bikes? The Buell is a great example of how NOT to build a performance bike. The Hog is an example of how NOT to build a motorcycle. U.S. made my ***. They don’t even have that going for them anymore. The HD buying public is all but extinct once the boomers are in wheel chairs, which is darn close. The younger pilot sees HD as an over priced joke that grandpa rides. The old guys won’t buy a Harley made Duck and the young pilot will see nothing but an Italian Buell. Do you really think HD will be committed to Ducati and it’s technology? They will turn it into a Buell with belt drive in no time flat. Look at their history. HD could not compete with motorcycle quality or performance so Willie G. invented a biker culture to buy into. The Buell was so backward due to HD’s refusal to adopt the far superior technology of the Japanese and Europeans. That’s why Buell tanked. Performance wise it stinks. Let’s not forget MV Agusta, Once the sales of a Harcati bike proves to be low due to Harley’s rep, they will dispose of it and Ducati is gone forever. RIP Duck. We will miss you.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Harley is doing very well thank you, and all the old people are not dying. There are more people getting older everyday, including you. And a lot of young people and women are riding Harleys too. Not too many companies out there can fork over $1.7 billion to buy another company unless they are doing well. How Ducati does after it gets sold is yet to be seen. It will be better than being passed around from one company to another like a hot potato. Harley makes the bikes people want to buy, whether you like it or not.

      • Douglas

        For it to work, H-D would hafta keep hands off and let the Italians design the bikes. Keep the names entirely separate, perhaps let the Duc engrs teach a few things about suspension, brakes etc. Harley folks, in turn, could give pointers on paint, fit & finish and so forth (’cause no one is any better at that, at least IMHO).

    • Dyna

      Why don’t the passionate engineers and designers at Ducati buy the company from VW and become a stand alone motorcycle company like Harley Davidson and Triumph instead of a leach sucking off money from a huge parent corporation? That’s exactly what the employees of Harley Davidson did in the early 1980s and they brought the company from the brink of bankruptcy to dominating the American motorcycle market now owning 50% market share. Yes they took the market back from foreign motorcycle companies ain’t it cool. The lesson is when you’re just a little toy subsidiary of a huge corporation you don’t control your destiny and you get dropped when things get tough, just ask Victory.

      • Track Junkie

        Who are you kidding. HD is not selling motorcycles. They are selling image and social life. That’s what they brought back from bankruptcy. The bikes SUCK compared to other bikes available in the same class. HD makes most of their money from licensing, accessories and apparel. Look at the average HD dealership. It’s hard to say weather they are a motorcycle dealer or a bar, grill, pool hall, nightclub for bikers. The other bike manufactures don’t sell HD assless chaps, leather halters and don’t host pig roast burnout parties.This is what a HARDLEY is. An instant bad ass biker image. Without this, most all of you would not ride one. The majority of you HD riders are riding the bike because you think it makes you look bad ass cool and now you and your ol lady have an instant social life. You could care less of how the bike performs. Just as long as there is another HARDLEY ride coming up. You know. Ride the bike to the favorite biker hangout, poker run, memorial run, bla, bla, bla.I live in Milwaukee and personally Know these employees you speak of. I have been to the manufacturing plant and research and development building. It is not impressive and the employees are not stellar in any way. I have worked with Harley engineers and would not allow them to build me a dog house. I have first hand exposure to this brand. You just ride them. Hardley will destroy Ducati for the cash at any moment they feel they need money. They are as much a huge corporation as any other and Ducati would be just a little toy subsidiary of a huge corporation. HD is not the benevolent righteous entity you make them out to be. The employees had no choice but to do what they did in the 80s or they would not have a job. Still hundreds of employees got screwed by Harley. These are facts. Ask my neighbors.

  • gjw1992

    And in a previous lifetime, in the 70s, HD bought Aermacchi – at least just the bike making arm. Didn’t go too well either.

    • John A. Stockman

      My aunt had a Sprint 250 in the late 60s. Grandpa got a later model Sprint 350. Aermacchi all the way. Better handling than comparable HD models, better suspension. In the 80s and 90s, I raced locally and there were a few guys that had the Sprint 250 fixed up for cub racing. Couldn’t get the smile off their faces. HD logo purposely removed. My aunt rode her Sprint all over the west. HD, stick with what you know. Their treatment of Erik Buell says it all. Business is business, but the motorcycle business can be mostly misunderstood for non-motorcyclists and those without passion.

  • Mad4TheCrest

    The only buyers who would be worse for Ducati than Harley-Davidson would be India’s Hero, or Liquid Asset Partners.

  • CompletelyOutsane

    HD owning Ducati = BS

  • Don McDaniel

    Frankly, it’s a damned shame that VW/Audi has to sell due to their cheatin’ ways. Ducati being owned by a strong car company was always a good thing. Car companies invest way more in technology than bike companies can and that trickle down is essential to remaining competitive as a performance moto brand. H-D would have absolutely NOTHING to contribute to feeding and underwriting Ducati tech leadership.

  • ADB

    I do like the “Fake News” reference. Well done.

  • TC

    After ruining Buell and MV Agusta, Harley needs to be restricted by law from buying any brand that makes motorcycles weighing less than 700 lbs. As so many commenters have said, HD probably just wants to buy it and gut it. There was an interview with Harley’s CEO the other day, and he spewed platitudes for 15 minutes when asked about their business plan.

    • John A. Stockman

      I was disgusted at the corporate-speak. Motorcyclists I know, not “bikers”, are a very passionate sort, no matter what brand is under their butt at any given time. Seems the CEOs and others of similar title might have passion, but listening to them talk, it’s not with motorcycles and those that buy, ride and have a personal passion for them.

  • DeadArmadillo

    I ride a lot (on a Harley BTW) and very seldom see a Ducati. But, if a Martian was hacking into the motorcycle magazine industry they would come to the conclusion that earthlings are all riding either Ducati’s or KTM’s.

  • RMP52

    Save your money H/D, that’s no deal.

  • Randy Young

    Didn’t Harley Davidson say something to the effect of they were allocating limited resources to different brands and that the company dollars are better spent on it’s own motorcycles when they sold MV Augusta off after only a year or so of ownership?
    What makes things that much different now other than MV Augusta was struggling when they purchased them, and Ducati in not doing so bad?

  • John Tarrani

    They would shove a sportser engine in them…like they did to the buells…Harley likes 1917 technology…lol

  • Ok Campers

    Isn’t it interesting how many people are willing to take the time to offer opinions based on the publication of unsubstantiated rumors and claims of anonymous sources these days? And I include myself as one of those opinion-givers……………………

  • Craig Hoffman

    The Harley team has listened to their customers complaints about comfort and jockey like riding positions, and are already busy at work with their proposed updates to the Ducati line. 😛

  • Chris

    Never should have got rid of Buell!!!