Claudio Castiglioni buys MV Agusta

Dailies -


Claudio-Castiglioni-MV-Agusta.jpgClaudio Castiglioni has bought MV Agusta back from Harley just two years
after The Motor Company purchased the exotic sportsbike brand. The move
may seem odd, but remember that, thanks to Harley, MV is now free of
debt and has millions of dollars in new manufacturing equipment as well
as an all-new midsize model ready to go in the form of the MV Agusta F3.
Official word below and more analysis on the way.

Update: MV’s official statement added.

MILWAUKEE, Aug. 6, 2010 — Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE: HOG) has concluded the sale of its subsidiary, MV Agusta, to Claudio Castiglioni and his wholly owned holding company, MV Agusta Motor Holding, S.r.l., effective today.
Castiglioni is the former owner of the Italian motorcycle maker and has served as MV Agusta’s chairman since 2008, when Harley-Davidson acquired the company.
In October 2009, Harley-Davidson announced its intention to sell MV Agusta as part of a new corporate strategy to focus resources on the Harley-Davidson brand. Since then, Harley-Davidson has held discussions with various potential MV Agusta buyers.
“MV Agusta is a proud brand and we wish Mr. Castiglioni and the company’s employees well,” said Harley-Davidson President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Wandell. “Our decision to divest MV Agusta reflects our strategy to focus our efforts and our investment on the Harley-Davidson brand, as we believe this provides an optimal path to long-term growth.”

Varese, August 6th 2010 – Claudio and Giovanni Castiglioni, through their family holding company have repurchased from Harley Davidson 100% of the shares of MV Agusta Motor S.p.A. which owns historic brands MV Agusta and Cagiva.

Harley-Davidson announced in October 2009 its intention to sell MV Agusta to concentrate on its core business and brand.

In connection with the repurchase transaction Lazard and Co. have acted as the financial advisor along with counsel Alessandro Varrenti (CBA) and Giuseppe Galeano whom provided legal and tax assistance in conjunction with family counsellors Giuseppe Carteni (Leadlaw), Andrea Lanata and Sergio Caramella.  Along with Giovanni Castiglioni, the company will be headed by Mr. Massimo Bordi, a well known Italian manager. A 62-year-old engineer, Bordi took Ducati to success during the years when that company was owned by the Castiglionis and continued to manage it successfully under the ownership of Texas Pacific Group. Since 2003 Massimo Bordi has been the CEO of Same Deutz Fahr, contributing largely to the success of the company. Massimo Bordi commented that “MV Agusta has full capacity to once again become a major player in the high luxury brand motor bikes, this brand is one of the most recognized worldwide. We will implement a number of reorganization and managerial actions in the near future. Both the current and new models under development have a very strong character, great innovative features and a very unique design, I have no doubts about their future success.”

Claudio Castiglioni, the historic intimate soul of MV Agusta will continue as chairman, and will concentrate on the development of the new products. Upon signing the agreement with Harley-Davidson, Claudio Castiglioni stated “MV Agusta is the crown jewel of Italian motorcycles, I am thrilled to have completed this transaction. I have already won once together with Massimo Bordi, we made the most beautiful bikes in the world and we will continue with this tradition”.

  • deckard

    Someone needs to write a book about Castiglioni, he is an unbelievable character.

  • Harley

    Did Claudio Castiglioni buy it for $1?

    • the_doctor

      One Euro I think.

  • kat

    good. now put out that supermoto bike you guys talked about like 2 years ago, dammit.
    happy to see this though. it only makes sense! :)

  • asmaco

    I also wondered what should be the common denominator between a high tech company and a company which closed its development department at least 50 years ago. MV can breath again.

    • fatbacktire


      Do you really think MV will breathe again? Harley saw an opportunity when the economy was good and they took it. The economy went south and it is time to get rid of the bullshit and get back to the basics. Basic as a Harley Davidson is they are the most profitable motorcycle company ever; Period. It doesn’t matter what they don’t do (R & D), but what they do accomplish (profitability).

      Manufacturers are in the business to make money and when someone actually does it everyone turns an evil eye to them. Childish…

  • johnc


    i was hoping minoli would pick up mv agusta. he is probably the only person who can make mv agusta a great brand/product again.

  • vic

    is his dad gordon gekko ?

  • the_doctor

    My dad and I were looking at an F4 last weekend. As we ogled it like six year olds, I quipped, “yeah, but its just a Harley.”

    I am glad I cannot say that any longer.

  • Pete

    Does anyone know what Harley bought it for in 2008, sold it for today, and how much debt they cleared? Just curious.

    • Richard Gozinya

      Don’t know about the debt, but HD paid over $100 million.

    • http://Http:// Wes Siler

      IIRC, $107 million, $70-ish was to clear debt. There’s no word on what he bought it back for, but figure considerably less.

  • Stephano

    The same old story as it always had and has been with the major crook senior Castiglioni. This is not the first time where he has done such. He is the biggest crook in the Italian motorcycling business. I mean it. Motorcycle Passion my ass as he often uses this term to justify his reasons behind running a factory of exquisite and fine art !!!; he wouldn’t give that passion two pennies worth, if it weren’t for the money he loves to make on these shady deals. Tamburini was the back-bone for the firm in which Castiglioni mistreated him in many ways and to the point of him being so burnt out by the entire deal of selling MV to Proton and then H.D, where he decided to quit all together. The same old stories with parts shortage and all that crap will take place again, so he and his affiliates can pocket the money that is usually set aside for company growth and not re-entering the profit back into the system. Watch my word; He will sell it again with profit and……. the rest is history!

    • Vito Corleone

      Such disrespect from you, Stephano. First, you don’t ask me to be the godfather to your children. Now, you insult my dear friend, Claudio. (sound of phone, dialing_) Luca? Stephano is going to be sleeping with the fishes tonight. Yes. No, leave the gun, take the cannoli.(click) Ciao, Stephano.

      • vic

        is Stephano going to wake up with a cylinder head in his bed?

        • Deltablues

          …yup, a great big oily Shovelhead

  • Zippy

    What any of us paid for anything in 2008 and what it is worth today are 2 very different numbers. If you do not believe this my bother will sell you the house he paid $360,000 for in 2007. He is asking $220,000.

    HD was smart to cut and run. They got rid of all the top people, time to move on do what they do better than anyone else.

    Build and sell lots and lots of profitable cruiser and accesories.

    A small percentage of the motorcycling world will always attack the Motor company, fortunately a large percentage of the MC public covet and buy thier bikes!!

  • JT

    Heh – How ’bout that. Harley kills Buell, but sells MV Agusta……curious. Wonder why they wouldn’t sell Buell back to Eric? Bombardier? Anybody?
    Castiglioni is such a poker player, man- so slick! I admire his skill- clubbed Harley Davidson like a baby seal. — JT

  • http://Http:// Beast Incarnate

    Sell a product line to grow a brand. That’s a painful marketing spin.

    A friend recently expressed interest in a Harley. One guy immediately said, “If you have to get one, get a V-rod.” Another guy condemned the recommendation. When asked why so many Harley fans seem to dislike the V-rod, he said, “Harleys aren’t supposed to be fast. It’s not their niche.” Seemed like such a strange reason.

    • Richard Gozinya

      You have to keep in mind, the anti V-Rod types are the same types who still lament the loss of carburetors and kick starts, as well as the invention of the swingarm.

      • ADV_DOW

        I kinda wish they still put kick starters on bikes. I might not use it but it would be cool to have every now and then.

    • John

      Yeah, the die hard Harley types dislike the V-Rod because it’s not the EVO v-twin like the rest of their bikes. It’s a Porsche designed engine, better IMHO.

  • Zippy

    HD does a huge amount of R&D, that is why they sell so many bikes at a good profit.

    They researched thier customers and developed the bikes they want to buy.

    • pauljones

      Well, yes and no.

      Harley-Davidson is good at market research.

      Don’t get me wrong, I like Harleys. But even as a Harley fan, I have to perfectly honest here: they don’t do as much R&D as they should. Their last big bit of R&D was the 2009 touring chassis, and to be perfectly fair, they nailed it. It’s a great chassis. But they could use a TwinCam replacement in the near future, ABS needs to be available on all models, not just Softtails and Touring models, and investing a little into R&D for aluminum chassis wouldn’t hurt them, either.

      But, on the other hand, the same complaints really can be leveled at every cruiser division. Star motorcycles are ridiculously heavy for what they are, particularly the smaller ones. A 650 VStar weighs as much as a TwinCam Dyna. Some Suzuki cruisers still use carburation, Honda cruisers need new transmissions, as well as better materials. Kawasaki cruisers have the same problem as Star cruisers; the smaller ones are absurdly heavy.

      About the only two cruiser-selling companies that are doing it right in terms of R&D are Triumph and Victory, though they offer only limited coverage of the market compared to Harley, and neither are nearly as large.

      While I tend to be just fine with the philosophy of “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, there are still a few things that Harley could be doing better.

      As for Castiglioni, I tend to agree that he is a master manipulator and a bit of a crook. I’m not enthusiastic over MV’s long-term odds at this point. But, on the other hand, if Harley management was stupid enough to fall for the guy’s tricks, then more power to him.

      I had hoped that Harley management would be smart enough to work in as many of MV’s technologies into their products as they could as quickly as they could. Otherwise, Harley had zero reason to purchase MV Agusta to begin with. It seems to me that buying MV Agusta was to gain experience and apply it to Buells, and maybe some to the Harley line, but instead they killed Buell, did little to the Harley line, and have no sold MV Agusta off at a loss. Whatever the reason, that was a waste in my opinion. Goodbye hopes of technological updates, and goodbye to the long-term hopes of MV Agusta.

      • Zippy

        Well, No and Yes, I would say. Market research is still research. Style development is still devolpment. Victory is certainly suceeding in the build the “goofyest” looking, but great riding, techno advanced cruiser wars. That is why thier sales are so bad.

        The lightweight alloy framed, amazing motored, Madonna Bra blinker Star Strato/Roadliner line comes in a close second. As much as I want to buy this bike for the ride, being a Star rider exclusively. I simply cannot get past the Retro/Neo/vintage/modern look they are trying to force us to buy.

        Nothing wrong with carbs, we won 2 world wars on carbs. Star still puts them on the 650 and 1100, thier 2 best selling lines. They dropped the division best seller V1100 in the USA for no good reason except to try to force folks to buy the neo stuff, they are staying away in droves!

        Having said all that, try to find a 2010 Roadking, long sold out in my area. Best looking bike built, in my never to be humble opinion.

        • pauljones

          I’ve ridden one. My dad owns a 2010 Electra Glide. They are impressively smooth bikes, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more in the way of technological R&D in them. Aluminum chassis, better brakes, standard ABS, and a twin-cam replacement would all be nice. When Harley bought MV Agusta, I figured they were going to take advantage of the technology in those bikes, but they never did.

          In retrospect, I don’t think that Harley-Davidson had any business buying MV Agusta to begin with. The money spent on it could have gone to real R&D for both Harley and Buell. Instead, all they really did was pay off MV Agusta’s debts and then send it on its way again in the hands of the same guy that got it into such debt to begin with.

          • Zippy

            Why so they can chase customers away? (see V Rod) Can you show me 1 person who buys a cruiser based on the chasis material? Keep ABS optional and I will pay for it if I want it. I would never buy an ABS bike.

            Dont tell me want I want, sell me what I want.

            • pauljones

              The same people that are buying Star Roadliners instead of Harley Road Kings.

              As for your “Don’t tell me what I want, sell me what I want” ethos, enjoy taking that one to Congress. They, and other lawmakers in Europe, are the ones considering making ABS mandatory on new bikes.

  • froryde

    Personally, i can’t wait for HD to go under…

  • shaswata

    This Castiglioni has made a habit of himself of selling MV Agusta for huge hundred million dollar deals to various companies and then buying it back for 1 Euro In Decemebr 2004 Proton , the Malaysian carmaker which is also owner of the legendary Lotus sports cars, bought 57.7% of MV for 70 million euros (Husky and Cagiva incl.) It was sold for Euro 1 to Gevi Spa a year later as MV incurred 107 million euros of debt…Husky was then sold off to BMW for cool 93 million euros….Harley acquired 100 percent of MV for 70 million euros ($107 Million) out of which 45 million euros wen to debt payments. Now MV is again back with Castiglioni for Euro 1…Amazing..the way this guy pulls the threads from behind that even big companies are left bamboozled

  • Stephano

    Why I call Castiglioni a “Crook” with a capital C is not due to his quick hands on business and abilities in that regard, where he sells high and buys it back at the lowest possible price and then repeating it again and again and…
    It’s about the fact that he has taken so much profit out of the company and in duration of the period where he should not have!!.

    When you are serving people with goods that you are producing and selling for high $$, then it’s your responsibility to not taking the money out of where it is supposed to be for your own selfish reasons and as result let the owners product rot, solely due to spare parts shortage and mishandling.

    Did you know suppliers were not paid their invoices, and that is while he was taking Large withdrawals for himself to live a lavish & luxurious life? and therefore the cause for the suppliers to “stop shipping parts” and that’s why I had to wait 9 months for a simple part?? I don’t call this a honest business, whatsoever!!! The entire image of the brand has been abused and sugar coated in so many ways, and we are happy that we own a unique bike!!

  • Tony

    “Why I call Castiglioni a “Crook” with a capital C is not due to his quick hands on business and abilities in that regard, where he sells high and buys it back at the lowest possible price and then repeating it again and again and…”

    Hmm, fine line between crook and damn smart businessman. If he would have done the oposite you would have called him stupid! I need to add another bike and the F4 should do very nicely.

    • Stephano

      Tony, Tony, my friend; If you read my comment with more attention to details and what I’m saying there, you will notice that I was not criticizing his ability of being a business man who knows when to buy and when to get rid of the cancer at the proper time! And I assume that you did not see the word “not” in the sentence;

      “Why I call Castiglioni a “Crook” with a capital C is not due to his quick hands on business and abilities in that regard”.

      He should have never taken so much out of the bank accounts, and the investors money out of the operation which caused MV to go bankrupt.

      He was solely responsible for MV to fall short of being a success in a much larger picture than it became, and he let it down, so he could achieve what he achieved and was able to pocket the money that way, pure and simple!!! almost as an sabotage and don’t ask me about how I have been able to declare that with such positive affirmation!

      Based on their sales in the very late 1999 and later on, they could have taken the brand to a much higher ground, if not for him screwing everyone out of achieving that goal, so he would have personal gains.

      Let’s just say that I have my information coming from a very reputable source! And good luck with your purchase of the new F4. It’s not like I’m against that marque! After all, I have owned them in the past.

      • Tony

        My bad! I glanced over it and responded then went back but could not delete the post. Sorry! I am still glad he owns it and wants to see the brand continue vs. Harley or some other investor who would not try and honor the brand. Again, Sorry for the quick draw!

        • Stephano

          No problem Tony. I hope everything will work out for them however.

  • tj

    just fire some higher ups to free some cash at harley and that place would be fine. bloated just like gvmt

  • jimboecv

    Fucking brilliant. Laughing all the way back to the same bank you owed money to.
    I love it.

  • CanOf WhoopAss

    As Stephano so eloquently put it, Castiglioni is a crook. Period. He screws his suppliers and his customers with equal abandon, trading on a legacy that has become a myth.
    As for Harley R&D, its a joke. They do as much as is necessary and no more. Their customers don’t demand it and their single foray into something resembling a modern motorcycle, the ridiculous V ROD, has proven to be a financial disaster. Their customers want slow and loud because most of their customers are slow and loud. I mean have you ever attended a a H.O.G. meeting? Its low IQ theatre. HD makes fat stupid bikes for fat stupid asses. Makes perfect sense. When the time is right HD will unveil a wheel chair version with a color TV option for their increasingly ageing and immobile customer base.

  • Adrian

    Harley Davidson = FAIL… MV, win.

  • alex

    HD bought MV to diversify there holdings, like any good business – it boosts there worth in good times and gives them a portable asset in bad times – both look very good to investors no matter what the market.

    MV got alot out of it besides debt repayment – they got new tools to play with and a continuation miracle during a time where they likely would have disappeared.

    As far as shady goes Italians invented the word, and continue to perfect it. My dad sold bikes and I can tell you this – shady. Places where it’s largely Italian especially back east – woo some shady characters in the bike business any business. Luckily not all Italians but enough.

    I was actually surprised the term stabbed in the back comes from Germany not Italy but I’m not sure about the term knee capped – as in he knee capped his bsuiness.

  • Hugo

    Just a small recap: in 1991 Cagiva bought MV, then in 2004 Malaysian Proton bought MV for 70 million euros, and sold it back within a year to Castiglioni for 1 Euro! Harley bought it in 2008, this time for 109 million, while BMW in 2007, gave 90 million for Husqvarna. So MV was sold for 199 million Euro after it was bought back for 1 euro!Castiglioni paid for the repurchase of Harley just 1 euro and also received 20 million with it! Harley-Davidson writes a total $ 162.7 million off on MV so in the end the laughing man is? Castiglioni offcourse..he buys MV twice back for 2 Euro while earning 219 million Euros in the process…