The past year has been a tumultuous one for the Motorcycle Aftermarket Group (MAG). In November 2017, the conglomerate filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections, as it restructured its debt from missteps during the economic recession.
That process concluded in April of this year, with the company’s creditors (Monomoy Capital Partners, BlueMountain Capital, and Contrarian Partners) taking control and ownership of MAG.
Now trying to move forward, MAG has announced that Mike Buettner will become the company’s interim CEO, while Bob Peiser will serve as chairman of MAG’s Board of Directors.
The news comes as the Sturgis motorcycle rally kicks off in South Dakota, where both Buettner and Peiser will be in attendance, in order to meet customers and dealers who were affected by MAG’s restructuring. The pair will also be at the AIMExpo and the Tucker Dealer show, later this year.
The Motorsport Aftermarket Group (MAG) announced that it has successfully concluded its Chapter 11 proceedings, after the bankruptcy court accepted the company’s plan for reorganization and debt recapitalization.
As a result of the bankruptcy process, MAG is under new ownership, with creditors Monomoy Capital Partners, BlueMountain Capital, and Contrarian Partners now in control of the massive motorcycle parts, apparel, and commerce conglomerate.
For those who don’t recall, MAG entered Chapter 11 back in November 2017, with the debts of the company spreading out through the group’s many owned brands.
The Motorsport Aftermarket Group (MAG) is not a name that motorcycle enthusiasts are usually familiar with, but the family of brands that the company owns certainly is: Performance Machine wheels, Roland Sands Design, Renthal handlebars, Vance & Hines exhausts, Tucker Rocky, J&P Cycles, etc. The network of brands has been struggling over the recent years though, and today we learn that many of them will be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, while the overarching MAG Group business restructures its debt and finds new ownership. While this is not the sexiest news story to happen in the motorcycle industry this year, it is certainly one of the most important and complicated. As such, we will try to break it down in a digestible way for you.
MV Agusta has unveiled in court its plan to get back to financial stability, after seeing cash flow issues reaching a zenith in March 2016. The plan is exactly as it has been previously advertised by MV Agusta CEO Giovanni Castiglioni: MV Agusta will reduce its workforce, produce fewer machines, focus on high-margin models, and seek a freeze on its debts to creditors and suppliers. Whether the Varesini court will accept this plan remains to be seen, it will also require some buy-in from MV Agusta’s creditor and suppliers, who are owed €50 million from MV Agusta. Right now, MV Agusta is working with roughly 200 employees at its Varese factory. Those remaining employees will be focusing their attention on MV Agusta’s more profitable models, namely the company’s four-cylinder platform.
The story of Italian motorcycle companies falling into bankruptcy is not a new one, but Benelli’s version of the narrative is a strangely interesting departure from the norm. Let us explain.
Things apparently kicked off when Benelli failed to pay WP Suspension roughly €120,000 for suspension pieces. WP eventually took Benelli to court, despite the Italian company’s commitment to repay its debt.
An Italian court in Pesaro then declared Benelli bankrupt, and ordered the sum owed to be paid. Somewhere in this process, some of Benelli’s completed motorcycles were seized by a trustee, as collateral for payment.
This spurred Benelli’s Chinese owners, the Qianjiang Group, to release a statement after the court’s ruling, saying that the Italian brand is strong, and has ample cash on-hand to repay its debts (rumored to be in the €1 million range), and has already begun doing so.
Despite what you may have read, MV Agusta isn’t declaring protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the United States Code. But, we can understand the confusion. Just so we are clear, by definition Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings are a figment of American law. Since MV Agusta is an Italian company, it would be fundamentally wrong to say that MV Agusta Motor S.p.A. was seeking a protection under the US Code that pertains to bankruptcy. The branch of MV Agusta that would be able to file for Chapter 11 would be MV Agusta USA, but the US subsidiary is not embroiled in MV Agusta Motor’s financial troubles, which makes the use of the term incredibly inaccurate.
If you were one of the unlucky few who plopped down close to $125,000 in deposits for a Mission R or Mission RS electric motorcycle by Mission Motorcycles, we hate to inform you that you are certainly not going to receive the bike you hoped to purchase, and you are likely not going to see your deposit back either. This is because Mission Motorcycles, commanded by Mark Seeger, is set to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which would see the company’s few assets liquidated in order to repay creditors. The news is not surprising to anyone close to the Mission Motorcycles operation, which seemed doomed from the start when Seeger made grandiose claims of developing the Mission R one day in the shower, even though he was not a part of the Mission Motors team that created the machine several years prior.
It’s official, Erik Buell Racing has been sold. The East Troy company went up for auction yesterday, and the Walworth County Circuit Court today put its rubber stamp on the winning bid of $2.25 million, made by Atlantic Metals LLC. In its bid, Atlantic Metals acquired all of EBR’s manufacturing assets (machines, parts, tools, etc), as well as the company’s intangible assets (trademarks, patents, databases, etc). Atlantic is acquiring these items with no contingencies, per the terms of the auction. Between the tangible and intangible assets purchased by Atlantic and the consulting working acquired by Hero MotoCorp, EBR’s receivership proceedings raised a little over $5 million. Former EBR employees will be first in line to reap that amount, getting the $202,000 in paid time off that they are owed.
Hero MotoCorp Ltd (HMCL) has filed paperwork with the Bombay Stock Exchange stating that its wholly-owned subsidiary, HMCL Americas, has entered into a settlement agreement with Erik Buell Racing, which sees the American arm of the Indian brand acquire “certain consulting project” from EBR for $2.8 million. The filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange reads: “”As part of the settlement agreement, HMCL Americas Inc has agreed to acquire the ownership of certain tangible and intangible assets of EBR Entities, free and clear of all encumbrances, for a consideration of USD 2.8 million.” The move is not surprising, since the projects and research in question are unfinished consulting work Erik Buell Racing was doing for Hero MotoCorp as a client.
Social media and some assorted motorcycle news websites (first here, and now here) are feverishly reporting that Erik Buell Racing has been out-right acquired by Hero MotoCorp, during the company’s receivership auction, thus confirming the wet-dream conspiracy theories of Buellistas around the world. The report was first started by the stalwart news source Motorcycle.in.th, and was then elevated quickly into the realm of semi-truthfulness by a bevy of other news outlets. With the journalistic bar now set so low, Asphalt & Rubber feels comfortable reporting that there is indeed a new owner for Erik Buell Racing, but it is not Hero MotoCorp, but instead the Flying Spaghetti Monster — deity to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
This looks like the end of the road for motorcycle manufacturer Gas Gas, as the Spanish brand entered into liquidation today, after its bankruptcy proceedings failed to find the €30 million necessary to pay the company’s creditors.
The news is timely, as today interested parties in owning Erik Buell Racing (or parts of it) will be placing their bids on the similarly wayward company.
Back in Spain though, the news is troubling for Gas Gas fans, as the company’s assets will be liquidated, with the hope of raising enough money to pay-off the company’s creditors.