Buell auction debacle

17th January 2016


Erik Buell Racing | HeroMotocorp | Bruce Belfer 


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The demise of Erik Buell Racing and the liquidation of the company's assets has hit a second hurdle after the Walworth (New Jersey) County Circuit Judge Phillip Koss refused to accept a bid of $1.6 million.


To clarify, in October 2009 parent firm Harley-Davidson shut down the Buell Motorcycle Company. One month later, Erik Buell founded Erik Buell Racing (EBR). In April 2015, having suffered chronic under-capitalisation problems (amidst other woes) Erik Buell Racing went bust. The firm, we hear, had $20.8 million in assets and liabilities of $20.4 million.


In August 2015, a receiver named Michael Polsky sold the Buell assets to a guy named Bruce Belfer (owner and CEO of Atlantic Metals). The price was $2.25million. However, Belfer couldn't stump up all the money to close the deal, and he begged for more time. That request was granted, and a new date was set: 10th December 2015.


However, Belfer didn't show up, but a firm called Liquid Asset Management did appear and offered $1.6million. The receiver (Michael Polsky) is said to have been happy with the amount and motioned for the judge to accept.


But the judge said no. He reckoned that Befler (and others) needed more time to table their objections. So a new date was set for January 14th 2016.


Here are some other angles to this sorry tale.


Hero MotoCorp, an Indian firm with a stake in Erik Buell Racing, bought the consulting wing of the business for $2.8million. However, we also understand that this isn't the case; Hero, we hear, was ordered by the court to pay the money for consulting work that Erik Buell did.


The judge (Phillip Koss) was unhappy about selling the firm (EBR) to an asset stripping outfit and preferred Belfer who had expressed an interested in re-launching Buell with help from Erik Buell.


Currently, there are no obvious immediate routes for a re-launch of EBR. But a lot can happen in the world of business. Erik Buell is a determined man with a lot of talent, racing experience and friends. But he's no spring chicken, and he just might have used up all the good luck regarding the brand that he created. Then there's Bruce Belfer who's got deep pockets, a few friends of his own, and a lot of ambition. And there are other interested parties hovering around, including Liquid Asset Management.


Confused? So are we. But if you're a Buell fan, just stay tuned for as long as you can. It ain't over until it's over.



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