Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire to go public

Harley-Davidson plans to list its LiveWire electric motorcycle brand that launched in May. The listing will take place via SPAC merger with exchange shell AEA-Bridges Impact Corporation (ABIC). LiveWire’s shares are expected to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LVW in the first half of 2022.

LiveWire estimates the expected net proceeds from the transaction at $545 million (approximately 482 million euros). The brand plans to use these funds to accelerate the launch of its debut model, develop new products and improve global production and distribution capabilities. The IPO is accompanied by a capital increase in the form of a PIPE (Private Investment in Public Equity), with Taiwanese two-wheeler manufacturer Kymco, already a LiveWire partner, injecting $100 million. ABIC itself is contributing $400,000 to the merger, and Harley-Davidson is contributing $100,000.

Upon completion of the transaction, Harley-Davidson says it will own about 74 per cent of the company, ABIC shareholders will own circa 17 per cent, and the founders of ABIC and Kymco will each own about 4 per cent of LiveWire. Harley Davidson expects the merged company to have an enterprise value of about $1.77 billion at the time of its stock market debut. It is already clear that Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson, will serve as LiveWire’s chairman and acting CEO for up to two years following the closing of the transaction.

Jochen Zeitz, Chairman, President and CEO of Harley-Davidson said: “Today’s announcement is a historic milestone with LiveWire set to become the first publicly traded EV motorcycle company in the U.S. By building on Harley-Davidson’s 118-year lineage, LiveWire’s mission is to be the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world, leading the electrification of the sport.” He explained: “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 benefitting from the at-scale manufacturing and distribution capabilities of its strategic partners, Harley-Davidson and Kymco.”

Briefly for context, in February 2021, Harley-Davidson announced plans to create a separate electric motorcycle division as part of its five-year “Hardwire” strategy. In May, the model name LiveWire was turned into the whole brand name. The brand’s debut model is the LiveWire One – essentially a relaunch of the already familiar LiveWire electric motorcycle, albeit at a significantly lower price. The US market launch of the new LiveWire One initially took place in California, New York and Texas this year. Outside the US, the LiveWire One will be available starting in 2022.

According to the latest announcement on the IPO plans, LifeWire will focus on the urban e-motorcycle market, initially establishing a brand presence in North America and Europe before expanding into other markets, including Asia. LiveWire says it will expand its own product portfolio while focusing on the rapidly evolving future of electric vehicles to ensure future technology is applicable to Harley-Davidson’s core segments. Feedback effects to the parent company are thus explicitly desired.



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