TVS Motor buys Britain’s iconic motorbike brand Norton in distress sale
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TVS Motor Company Ltd, India’s leading two-wheeler and three-wheeler manufacturer, has acquired Britain’s iconic bike brand Norton for 16 million GBP (Rs 150 crore or $20 million at current exchange rates) in a distressed sale.

The Chennai-based firm signed an agreement with Norton Motorcycles Holdings Ltd (in administration) and Norton Motorcycles (UK) Ltd (in administration) to acquire certain assets including the Norton brand in an all-cash deal, TVS informed stock exchanges.

TVS Motor completed the acquisition through Project 303 Bidco Ltd, a newly incorporated company under its Singapore subsidiary (TVS Motor (Singapore) Pte. Ltd), specifically to acquire Norton, it added.

Sudarshan Venu, joint managing director at TVS Motor, said the transaction is in line with the company’s effort to cater to the aspirations of discerning motorcycle customers. “We will extend our full support for Norton to regain its full glory in the international motorcycle landscape,” he said.

Rothschild and Co. was the financial advisor to the TVS Motor for the deal, while Khaitan & Co and Slaughter and May provided the legal advice to the two-wheeler manufacturer.

Norton was founded by James Lansdowne Norton in Birmingham, England toward the end of the 19th century. Based in the UK, Norton is known for its classic models and eclectic range of luxury motorcycles ranging from authentic retro classic reboots of the famous Commando to their contemporary 200 bhp, 1200cc V4 super-bikes.

Shares of TVS Motor were quoting 2.2% higher from the previous close at Rs 308 apiece in the afternoon trade. The stock touched an intraday high of Rs 323 and a low of Rs 303.25.

TVS Motor’s recent investments

TVS Motor is the two- and three-wheeler company under the $8.5 billion TVS Group. It has been an active investor and acquirer of two-wheeler automobile manufacturers and auto-tech firms.

Two months ago, the company made an additional investments in New York City-based big data analytics startup Scienaptic Systems Inc intending to develop its technology platform and improve risk and credit assessment, monitor evolving fraud patterns, and improve customer experience.

Scienaptic was established in 2014 by founder and CEO Pankaj Kulshreshtha. Apart from Scienaptic, TVS has invested in a few other startups as well. In May 2019, it invested $3.85 million in machine learning company Tagbox Solutions as part of a Series A funding round. Earlier that year, TVS invested in Pune-based Altizon Systems Pvt. Ltd, which develops solutions based on the industrial Internet of Things (IOT).

It acquired electric bike maker Ultraviolette Automotive Pvt. Ltd and RentOnGo, an online marketplace for renting bikes and appliances in 2018.

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