Fresh off the European newswires, reports out of Italy are tipping motorcycle manufacturer MV Agusta as looking to offer up to 30% of the company on the stock market. If true, the move would make good on MV Agusta’s hope of going public by 2016 — noticeably quite ahead of schedule.
Additionally, reports out of Germany are also indicating that Daimler AG (owner of Mercedes-Benz), is looking for a minority stake in MV Agusta, and approached the Italian company these past few weeks about that possibility — a move not to dissimilar to the one that saw Audi AG acquire Ducati Motor Holding.
Asphalt & Rubber readers will remember that Daimler was heavily rumored to be in talks with Ducati about the Italian company’s acquisition, going even as far as to establish a strategic partnership with the AMG performance brand.
With Audi wooing Ducati away from Mercedes-Benz, it would seem the Stuttgart-based company has looked elsewhere in the country shaped like a boot for its Cinderella.
Today’s news isn’t the first time we’ve heard Daimler’s name used in conjunction with an MV Agusta purchase or investment, but it is the most credible report we have seen on the matter thus far.
In some ways the idea of an MV Agusta IPO seems ridiculous, as the Italian brand is far from flourishing, despite its efforts to build volume off its new line of three-cylinder motorcycles. However, MV Agusta has seen growth, and its latest batch of machines have been the best to come out of Varese in a long, long, long while.
On the other side of the coin, MV Agusta could see success if it could find a strong financial backing, something it’s been unable to do since it was reacquired by the Castiglioni family from Harley-Davidson.
Cleared of debt, retooled for modern manufacturing, and with a bevy of models under development, the single greatest factor holding back MV Agusta has been the company’s inability to secure credit from banks, even in Italy.
Needing to build the brand outside of Italy, investing particularly in customer support, inventory supply, and dealership expansion, an infusion of capital from a public offering, or from an investment from a company like Daimler, would go a long way to making MV Agusta a stable brand and powerful manufacturer.
In some circles, that could even be considered a prudent investment for Daimler, outside of the environmental and regulatory advantages four-wheel brands have with owning two-wheeled marques. There is also the little matter of Daimler being the only German car manufacturer without a motorcycle brand in its wings, assuming that the Germans even pay attention to such details.
So far no one from Daimler or MV Agusta is talking about the rumors, but it’s certainly an interesting story that is developing. Stay tuned for more information as we get it.