New owner wants to revive Erik Buell Racing
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Posted by: Wes Fleming
Bill Melvin, Jr., the newest owner of Erik Buell Racing, is already looking for somebody else to take on the task of building motorcycles. “We will not be manufacturing motorcycles, but we will be working to put together a plan with a team that can be successful in doing that,” he said.
Melvin owns Liquid Asset Partners, which purchased EBR on 14 January 2016 for $2 million at auction. This auction, the third attempt to auction off EBR, was approved by the Walworth County (Wisc.) Circuit Court. EBR’s factory and offices were in East Troy, Wisc.; Liquid Asset Partners is located in Grand Rapids, Mich. About 130 people worked at EBR when the company went into receivership in April 2015.
Bruce Belfer, a New Jersey businessman, tried to buy EBR for $2.25 million in 2015, but missed court-ordered deadlines and was unable to close the deal.
Liquid Asset Partners’ bid of $2 million was in excess of the $1.6 million value of EBR’s manufacturing assets. When EBR went into receivership, it claimed $20.8 million in assets and $20.4 million in liabilities. The resoundingly criticized Indian company, Hero Moto-Corp, which paid $2.8 million for a 49% stake in EBR in 2013, did not publicly comment on the auction.
Liquid Asset Partners worked with Indian Motorcycle Co. before that brand was purchased by Polaris Industries; many industry insiders hailed Indian’s return in that period but held little hope for a lengthy or successful run, a prediction that proved true. LAP also handled the liquidation of the Buell factory assets in East Troy when Harley-Davidson abruptly dumped the brand in 2009.
“[EBR] bikes, out of the box, can go head-to-head with the top Italian race bikes. Our sale process will enable the proper exposure of the company and price flexibility that may better fit a new owner,” Melvin said.
An article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal indicated that LAP may seek crowdfunding as one of the methods to resurrect EBR.