Monday, July 22, 2024


Harley-Davidson’s share price briefly jumped by 19.5% on the morning of 13 December, and then closed a healthy 4.7% up that evening. This sudden surge came after Harley revealed its LiveWire electric bike operations, having been siloed into a stand-alone division, are to become an entirely seperate listed business with a pro-forma enterprise value of about $1.77bn.

LiveWire is now in the process of being reversed into a blank-cheque special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) already listed on the New York Stock Exchange, with which it will merge. Use of a SPAC is the latest ploy for avoiding onerous due diligence required by the US Securities & Exchange Commission for an initial public share offer. Once the merger is complete, it will simply assume the LiveWire moniker and have a NYSE listing in place.

The SPAC in question is AEA-Bridges Impact Corporation, set up by a pair of private equity firms and domiciled in the Cayman Islands. It has a dedicated environmental sustainability focus, hence the interest in electric vehicle investment participation. Presumably its relationship with Harley-Davidson over LiveWire has been in gestation for some time.

Privately-owned Taiwanese motorcycle manufacturer Kwang Yang Motor Company (KYMCO), in possession of advanced EV technology oriented towards urban mobility, has joined Harley in the deal, with each inserting capital of $100m to ensure smooth delivery. But the latter will reportedly retain 74% of total equity.

Commenting on the announcement, controversial Harley-Davidson supremo Jochen Zeitz said: “LiveWire is set to become the first publicly traded electric motorcycle company in the US. LiveWire’s mission is to be the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world, leading the electrification of the sport.

“This transaction will give LiveWire the freedom to fund new product development and accelerate its go-to-market model. LiveWire will be able to operate as an agile and innovative public company while benefiting from the at-scale manufacturing and distribution capabilities of its strategic partners, Harley-Davidson and KYMCO.”



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