American ATV and motorcycle manufacturer Polaris is currently in talks with MV Agusta to buy a major share in the Italian sportsbike manufacturer.
The preliminary talks have been confirmed by none other than MV Agusta President and CEO Giovanni Castiglioni in an interview with US magazine Cycle News.
Polaris developed Victory Motorcycles in 1998, bought Indian Motorcycle in 2011, acquired Brammo electric motorcycles in 2015 and was rumoured to be interested in buying Erik Buell Racing (EBR).
Now it seems they may be serious about buying up MV Agusta, a company once owned in 2008/09 by American rivals, Harley-Davidson.
MV Agusta is now partially owned by AMG-Mercedes, but Giovanni has been in talks about buying back those shares and scaling back production to cover a liquidity shortfall.
Australian MV importers Urban Moto Imports point out that Giovanni has also been rumoured to be in talks with several other automotive companies, financial institutions and even a Saudi prince.
Giovanni says the AMG partnership has been “disastrous, a total failure”, despite many in the industry saying the Germans had sharpened up logistics and production at a time when MV is in a purple patch of new models.
However, Giovanni says AMG made “no strategic use of MV. Zero”.
Yet MV Agusta has recently released two limited-edition AMG-branded models, the Solarbeam F3 and the Dragster RR named in honour of Mercedes-AMG F1 driver Lewis Hamilton.
Giovanni now appears interested in selling a majority share of the company to the American giant, but stressed the talks have reached no decisions, or even a draft of intent.
“I can confirm that we’ve been in discussions with them (Polaris) about some form of partnership, just as with other companies interested in investing in the commercially successful premium brand that is MV Agusta,” says in the Cycle News interview.
Aussie MV Agusta owners have been tossed around in recent years by different distributors.
Urban Moto Imports has brought some stability to MV Agusta owners and is even honouring old warranties.
However, there is a likelihood that if Polaris buys into MV Agusta, they will want to do their own distribution and even have their own dealers as they have done with Indian and Victory.
UMI marketing manager Joshua Pilley says they “don’t and cannot subscribe to rumours or hearsay, and for good reason”.
“MV Agusta has mentioned they were in talks with Polaris as much as they have also been rumoured to be in talks with Fiat Chrysler Auto, VW Group, Renault, Azimut, Pirelli, Bosch, Leonardo-Finmeccanica, Assicurazioni Generali, KBR, a Saudi Prince, Lewis Hamilton, Gucci’s CEO and many more strange businesses we’ve never heard of.
“For all we know they could be talking about finance, new developments, collaborations, technology supplies and so forth.
“With so many talks, why would we entertain any thought in what they are talking about and how it effects us – an Australian-owned business.”
Victory HQ in Minnesota also say they don’t comment on management speculation.