No, Royal Enfield Isn’t Buying Ducati

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I woke up this morning to a message from a colleague, with a link to a story that linked Royal Enfield to buying Ducati Motor Holding. The story was from a fairly reliable news publication, but the headline read “Royal Enfield Might Consider Buying Ducati Pretty Soon” – the grammarist in me cringed.*

“Might consider” is the most nebulous phrase in the English language. Let’s think about that phrase for a moment, as it literally means that you are considering the possibility of considering something. Don’t get me started on the timeliness of “Pretty Soon” in the news realm, as well.

Metaphysics and meaningless headlines aside, for our purposes this narrative devolves further in that this story offers nothing new, beyond the story that Reuters published two weeks ago, which set off alarms in the motorcycle industry around the world.

Of course, even that source story was troubling, with the final paragraphs devolving into a list of brand’s the author offered as potential buyers, though no reasoning for their inclusion was made, beyond the fact that they were in the motorcycle industry. Royal Enfield was one such brand.

There is a difference between “could” and “should” in the English language. I could drive my car with my feet, but I should probably stick to the old-fashioned way, of using my hands.

If I was a large motorcycle company, I could muster the capital to acquire Ducati Motor Holding, but I should probably consider how a billion-dollar purchase like Ducati would fit into my overall corporate strategy.

It is this kind of consideration that lead to the demise of the Victory Motorcycles brand, as Polaris Industries (another company linked by Reuters to the possible Ducati purchase) focused its resources on fueling the continued growth of the Indian brand.

To his credit, Eicher Motors CEO Siddhartha Lal (leader of the company that owns Royal Enfield) understands this concept, telling The Times of India that “basically, without saying absolutely no to anything – because we never say never – we are so zeroed in on our own opportunity that we do not want anything to distract us.”

Remember, if you “never say never” then that means you would therefore consider thinking about it. Ah-ha! Gotcha!

In the day of the internet and click-based monetization, why report new information, we you can repackage an old story? Why do real investigative work, when you can cherry-pick headlines to suit your own agenda?

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that despite what you might read today, Royal Enfield is not buying Ducati Motor Holding. At least not today, perhaps. We’ll talk about it…maybe. Let me sleep on it.

Source: Economic Times & Times of India

*I just want to put out that I actually cringed at the sub-headline, which called the deal a “wheelie good buy”.