H-D Completes MV Deal

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Harley-Davidson, Inc. says it has completed the purchase of Italian motorcycle maker MV Agusta Group. The Motor Company has acquired 100 percent of MV Agusta Group shares for about 70 million euros ($108 million), which includes the satisfaction of existing bank debt for approximately 45 million euros ($69 million).

H-D revealed its purchase plan July 11. The finalized deal was announced today. MV Agusta Group was privately held, with the Castiglioni family owning 95 percent of MVAG shares. Harley-Davidson funded the transaction primarily through euro-denominated debt.

MV significantly slowed production in 2008 due to what H-D has described as "financial difficulties." In conjunction with finalizing the acquisition, Harley-Davidson has named Matt Levatich as managing director of MV Agusta Group. Levatich, 43, joined Harley-Davidson in 1994 and has served in a variety of roles, including significant positions in Harley-Davidson Europe sales and marketing, based in England. Levatich also headed Harley-Davidson Materials Management as vice president for four years, and most recently was vice president and general manager of Parts and Accessories and Custom Vehicle Operations.

Harley-Davidson, Inc. now is the parent company for the group of companies doing business as Harley-Davidson Motor Company (HDMC), Buell Motorcycle Company (Buell), Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS) and MV Agusta Group (MVAG).

Retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles have grown at a double-digit rate in Europe in each of the last three years. Hoping to capitalize further on that trend, H-D has, it says, "increased its strategic focus on global markets?."

"Our primary focus with this acquisition is to grow our presence and enhance our position in Europe," says Harley-Davidson, Inc. CEO Jim Ziemer.

It has yet to be revealed exactly how Harley-Davidson's presence in Europe could be aided by a financially troubled niche vehicle manufacturer retailing 5,800-some high-priced bikes through a worldwide network of about 500 dealers. H-D still hasn't revealed its plan, but multiple sources point to the possibility of the Motor Company using MV to spearhead a world-level road racing effort.

Stay tuned…