Wednesday, May 19

RUMOURS SWIRL AROUND MV AGUSTA

IT HAS been reported by Italian newspaper Il Sol 24 Ore that former Ducati CEO, Federico Minoli, has 34+ million euros in private equity financing behind him for an offer to Harley-Davidson for MV Agusta.

The 34 million euros quoted, if accepted, would mean Harley-Davidson would still lose out on its investment in the iconic Italian brand. The high-rollers at the American company paid $US109 million to buy MV with $US70 million of that going towards paying the company’s bad debt. While under Harley's control, MV launched new versions of its F4 and Brutale, and an F3 is rumored to be in the works.

MV Agusta earned 34 million euros in revenue during 2009 and reported a 20 million euro loss, before interest and taxes.

Minoli took over as head of Ducati in 1996 and in 2002 was promoted from CEO to President of the  company. He moved from Boston back to Italy in 1996 to take up his appointment at the Bologna manufacturer after venture capital company Texas Pacific Group acquired it from the Castiglioni family. Minoli was born in Gallarate, the original home of MV Agusta and his mother came from Verghera, which was where Count Agusta was based. (MV stands for Moto Verghera).

In addition to the rumours about Minoli heading a buy-out of MV, there have also been suggestions that Paulo Berlusconi (brother of the Italian Prime Minister) was also a potential suitor.

But proving there is always an Italian soap opera surrounding Italian motorcycle manufacturers, there are also rumours that Claudio Castiglioni may be a bidder, with backing from the Italian San Paolo bank.

It was Castiglioni's company that aquired Ducati from the Italian government in 1985 and then bought Moto Morini, and in 1988 aquired the rights to the MV Agusta name.