Harley-Davidson stock rises on plans to go public with electric motorcycle company LiveWire

Yahoo Finance Live presenters Brian Sozzi and Julie Hyman analyze Harley-Davidson’s positive performance as they announce plans to take LiveWire, its electric motorcycle business, public through a SPAC deal.

Video transcript

JULIE HYMAN: But let’s talk about another such deal here, and it has to do with Harley-Davidson. The company agreed to create its electric motorcycle division, LiveWire, as it is called. It will merge with SPAC for approximately $1.77 billion. SPAC is called AEA Bridges Impact Corp.

And what’s interesting about that Brian – and I know you’ve covered this more closely than I have – but you know there was some excitement when HOG came out with these e-bikes, wasn’t there ? And now he gets rid of it. Is this a sign that the division was working well or not so well?

BRIAN SOZZI: I have a lot of ideas on this, but unfortunately we don’t have much time for me to share them. But I thought, I like this case. But there is an interesting aspect to this.

So Harley-Davidson basically partners with KYMCO, a Taiwanese bicycle manufacturer. So it’s a bit strange to see an iconic American company partnering with KYMCO, to basically help produce its electric motorcycle, so there’s that aspect here.

So just from a pure numbers perspective here, it makes sense. This will help, I think, reduce a lot of the costs that Harley-Davidson has incurred over the past three years or so since the initial introduction of LiveWire. That e-bike you see up there on the screen. A very, very fast bike. Not for everyone, of course.

But again, it helps to alleviate some of those costs on the balance sheet, to reduce those costs, and Harley-Davidson could focus, I think, a little more on staying true to its DNA, which in the foreseeable future, might just do an old school of gasoline-powered Harley-Davidson motorcycles. But I understand why the stock is up here. It seems logical to me.

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah. And that makes you wonder, though, you know, given – it’s just interesting the trajectory and the blueprint that we’ve seen for automakers versus Harley-Davidson here, isn’t it? And say, if you compare it with Ford, for example – and what he talked about in terms of orders for the Lightning, right? The electric version of his F-150 — compared to what we see here, that’s also an interesting contrast, isn’t it?

BRIAN SOZZI: He is. And if you follow the history of Harley-Davidson, last year, last year, under new CEO Jochen Zeitz, I think it led to this, up to this event. They isolated LiveWire a few months ago. Jochen, keep in mind, was president of Harley-Davidson, was named CEO, I believe, in early 2020.

So I think he was behind this development. And that comes at a time when you see the valuation multiples of electric vehicles, power companies, skyrocketing. Of course you have Tesla. You have the likes of Lucid. You have Zero, a manufacturer of electric motorcycles. They managed to raise a good amount of money. Again, I think this is a potentially timely transaction for the company. Still, it’s hard to see this iconic American company teaming up with a Taiwanese company to create what looks to be the future of electric motorcycles.

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah, well, we’ll see what kind of demand and what kind of… maybe what kind of technical expertise they’ll get from that company as well.