Polaris acquires Indian Motorcycle

Publish Date: 
Apr 19, 2011

Polaris Industries Inc. today announced the acquisition of Indian Motorcycle. The business was acquired from Indian Motorcycle Limited, a company advised by Stellican Limited and Novator Partners LLP, U.K. Private Equity firms. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“We are excited to be part of the revitalization of a quintessentially American brand,” said Scott Wine, CEO of Polaris Industries Inc. “Indian built America’s first motorcycle. With our technology and vision, we are confident we will deliver the classic Indian motorcycle, enhanced by the quality and performance for which Polaris and Victory are known.”

With this acquisition, Polaris adds one of motorcycling’s legendary brands to its strong stable of Victory cruiser and touring bikes. Indian will operate as an autonomous business unit, building upon the potent combination of Polaris’ engineering acumen and innovative technology with Indian’s premium brand, iconic design and rich American heritage.

The announcement came as great news for Rick Fairless, owner of Strokers Dallas, a Dealernews columnist whose Texas dealerships carries Victory motorcycles. Fairless says he'd been approached in the past about being an Indian dealer under Stellican, but wasn't much interested. Now, however, he sees things differently.

"I'm a Victory dealer and when I heard Polaris bought Indian, I called my Victory guy and told him that I wanted to be the Indian dealer in Dallas/Ft. Worth," Fairless says. "The attraction to me is one word: Polaris. Polaris knows how to run a company very, very well and they will run Indian very, very well.

"Strokers Dallas will be a proud Indian dealer."

Stellican bought Indian in 2004 and introduced its first model, the Indian Chief at the 2009 Sturgis Rally. In relaunching the brand, the company built a new plant in Kings Mountain, N.C., and constructed a flagship dealership in Charlotte, N.C. The initial plans were to produce and sell motorcycles that would be comparable to Harley-Davidson's CVO lineup.

“Polaris will utilize its well-known strengths in engineering, manufacturing, and distribution to complete the mission we undertook upon re-launching the brand in 2006:  harness the enormous potential of the Indian brand,” said Stephen Julius, chairman of Indian and managing director of Stellican. “Polaris is the most logical owner of Indian Motorcycle. Indian’s heritage brand will allow Polaris to aggressively compete across an expanded spectrum of the motorcycle market.” 

Novator Partners LLP is a London based alternative investment firm founded and led by the investor Thor Bjorgolfsson. An avid motorcycle enthusiast, Bjorgolfsson said “After a troubled past, our goal was to bring the legendary Indian bikes back on the roads. The initial phase of that project is done and now our great partners at Polaris will carry on the work to realize the full potential of this classic American brand.”

Posted by Dennis Johnson

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