According to this report, Harley-Davidson is in an advanced stage of talks to buy part or all of Italian motorcycle company MV Agusta. Why would HD buy an Italian sportbike company when they already have Buell?

Because big companies have to grow sales – year-over-year, quarter-over-quarter – always growing. When sales slow (as they have in the motorcycle market for the past year or so) there are only two things you can do:

  • Invest in developing new products or new markets for your existing products (both of which take time)
  • Buy customers (and sales) via acquisition

When it comes to buying motorcycle companies, Italy is about the only place you can go. H-D flirted with buying Ducati last year but was rebuffed. We’ll see if this turns out differently.