Harley-Davidson is taking its electric motorcycle division LiveWire public through a merger with a blank check company sponsored by executives of AEA Investors and Bridges Fund Management.
The agreement with special purpose acquisition company AEA-Bridges Impact Corp (ABIC) will preserve much of Harley-Davidson’s ownership while giving LiveWire access to the capital that the public markets can provide and fold in Taiwanese motorcycle and sport vehicle manufacturer Kymco as a key partner. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2022.
The deal is funded by $400 million that ABIC is holding in trust, a $100 million investment from Harley-Davidson and $100 million from Kymco.
Harley-Davidson will own about 74% of the newly combined company. The SPAC shareholders will have a 17% ownership, with the remaining 4% being held by SPAC founders and Kymco. The combined company is expected to have an enterprise value of about $1.77 billion and post-money equity value of about $2.31 billion at closing.
Harley’s hefty ownership gives it considerable power and oversight into LiveWire. Jochen Zeitz, the chairman, President and CEO of Harley-Davidson, will be chairman of the newly formed company. He will serve as acting CEO of LiveWire for up to two years following completion of the transaction. Ryan Morrissey will serve as president of LiveWire.
The proceeds will be used to fund LiveWire’s go-to-market strategy, invest in new products and improve its global manufacturing and distribution capabilities. The newly formed company LiveWire will include STACYC, the all-electric balance bikes for kids. That manufacturing edge will be provided in part by Kymco, which Harley said in its investor presentation will provide “penetration in key global markets and light motorcycle and scooter segments via low-cost manufacturing.”
Upon closing of the transaction, LiveWire be the first publicly traded EV motorcycle company in the U.S. and will trade on the NYSE under symbol LVW.