From Russia with Love, MV Agusta Finds New Money

11/20/2016 @ 1:05 pm, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS


Last week, I was ready to start polishing the obituary for MV Agusta – the Italian company seemingly in an impossibly terminal state.

Italy’s Guardia di Finanza had found that the Italian company had been using the social security contributions of its workers to pay down the money owed to parts suppliers (something MV Agusta disputes is the case), and earlier this year MV Agusta CEO Giovanni Castiglioni was investigated for irregularities on his tax return.

All of this is on top of the ever precarious financial situation MV Agusta has been in for the past year, which has resulted in the company looking to restructure its €50 million debt in the Italian court system, furlough a good portion of its workforce, and reduce its production volume to roughly 9,000 units per year.

Now it seems MV Agusta’s fortunes are changing, with the Italian motorcycle maker signing an agreement with the Black Ocean investment group to recapitalize MV Agusta.

Details of the pending transaction haven’t been released, but we can assume that the increase in capital will help ease MV Agusta’s relationship with suppliers, get workers back on the assembly line, and continue the development of new models.

The €20 million question though is whether Black Ocean’s investment will mean the departure of AMG, the German auto brand acting now like an albatross around MV Agusta’s neck.

“I am very pleased that we have reached this agreement with Black Ocean,” said MV Agusta’s Giovanni Castiglioni. “Beyond the strengthening of our capital, which is important for the future growth of MV Agusta, I strongly believe that Mr. Sardarov, Mr. Ripley, and their global team will be able to contribute with their entrepreneurial and managerial skills in the consolidation of MV Agusta as a key player in the super premium motorcycle market.”

That MV Agusta should see investment from Black Ocean is of note in itself. The investing arm of the international holding Ocean Group, Black Ocean is headed by Oliver Ripley and Timur Sardarov.

Black Ocean is the key investor in the private jet chartering company Ocean Sky, which is based out of the UK. Through a sponsorship through Ocean Sky, the Ocean Group invested in the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace, for an interesting factoid.

Doing business in the United States and Europe, with a sharp focus in Russia, Ripley and Saradov in many ways can be viewed analogous to Giovanni Castiglioni himself, being of similar age and socio-economic background.

It will be interesting to see how Ripley and Saradov collaborate with Giovanni, and whether Black Ocean’s presence in the Italian company will lead to more investment from other Russian interests.

MV Agusta has already had dealings with Russian-based investors of course, with Alexander Yakhnich being formerly involved with the company’s World Superbike racing efforts.

Interesting times are ahead for the Italian brand, that much is certain. Hopefully today marks a turning point in MV Agusta’s fortunes. The world would certain be a lesser place for its two-wheeled creations.

Source: MV Agusta

  • Superlight

    I had hopes that some private equity firm would see the value in the MV brand. Now if Giovanni would just focus on adding dealer points and better parts availability rather than new models and/or Bold New Graphics they could move forward.

  • Gary

    The world will always be a better place with MV Agusta’s presence. They fill our eyes with the most beautiful motorcycles on earth and they fill our minds with endless drama for our entertainment. Ardente Agusta!!!

  • Charlie Allnut

    All I know is that I want a Turismo Veloce.

  • Jack

    All I can think is that the next Bond movie will have MV Agustas as their bikes. And maybe the partnership could produce an idea for a new villain too ;-)

  • I rode one in France. It’s a good little bike.

  • Bluesceyes

    Isn’t Yakhnich also affiliated with the Pramac effort?

  • Michael K

    Hear hear.

  • Ian Miles

    I think it is positive that MV gets out from underneath AMG. Too many European auto companies are in the grasp of German companies. At one end of the external financing scale is TVR, finally rescued from a bored Russian and now on the way back. At the other Ducati, with Texas Pacific. In the middle, Lotus who have and are continuing to do wonders with modest financial support. So let’s hope it is the latter two. They need financial stability and perhaps some access to Ferrari and Fiat tech. Much too good to lose.

  • info

    Timur Sardarov is the BO founder and owner, please correct the typo.

  • Ryan Donahue

    Ducati is now under the VAG umbrella, not TP.

  • MikeD

    Another Zombie Brand…that just won’t die for good…i’m looking at you too, BUELL.
    It’s a fact: Italians can build magnificent pieces of rolling art and performance in the motorcycle sector but apparently can’t properly manage the business even if their lives depended on it.

  • peter

    Hi there. You talk about Ocean Sky but Ocean Sky Aviation, Ocean Sky Aircraft Charter and Ocean Sky Aircraft Management all ceased trading in 2012 and have been declared insolvent and unable to pay their debts… Hope it won’t be the same in the future for MV Agusta.

  • allworld

    I love my Brutale, the only thing better than the looks of an MV is the performance.

    Personally I would like to see Farreri take over controlling interest in the brand.

  • Walter

    Italian business acumen, typical lack of financial transparency, and Russian oligarch money. What could possibly go wrong? LOL

  • Shinigami

    Oh yes, Farreri. The famous Italian horse shoe company.

  • AHA

    It’s a fatal attraction. With all due respect to the participants, I wonder if these aren’t just a bunch of wealthy playboys playing with baubles before they move onto the next diversion. Anyone remember Russian millionaire Nikolai Smolenski, TVR cars and Benelli?

  • Barry Rothwell Taylor

    Do hope that this works , a friend had an MV Agusta , a 750 with shaft drive and it was almost as fast as a Z1 but so beautiful . A different , better , era , when riding was exciting , not just fun …
    ( late 70’s )
    Seen an F4 around here and it’s tiny but sounds pure magic .

  • allworld

    The “prancing horse”

  • Phil Klostermen

    That’s telling them