Indian Motorcycle Roars Ahead With $45 Million in New FundingGILROY, Calif.--June 25, 2001--Indian Motorcycle Company, the oldest U.S. manufacturer of heavyweight motorcycles, announced today that it had completed the sale of up to $45 million of preferred stock to Audax Group, a leading private equity firm based in Boston, MA.
Specific terms of the investment were not disclosed.
Proceeds from the Audax investment will be used primarily to invest in designing and engineering the continued development of a broader line of proprietary Indian motorcycles, selectively broadening the Company's dealership base and expanding the existing organization with strategic hires.
The Company also announced that Frank O'Connell, the current interim Chief Executive Officer, will assume full time duties as CEO effective immediately. Mr. O'Connell, an avid motorcycle enthusiast, has an accomplished background running branded consumer product companies, including experience building innovative lifestyle brands such as HBO Video, Reebok, Skybox and Gibson Greetings. During an extensive career, Mr. O'Connell has also successfully relaunched several dormant brands.
Commenting on the Audax investment, Mr. O'Connell said, "Because of the operational experience of the principals at Audax, we believe they are an ideal partner to help rebuild Indian's market position." Mr. O'Connell commented, "We are committed to rebuilding the Indian brand and creating a line of motorcycles which combines its proud heritage with today's technology. Our mission is to improve the quality of our products, while supporting our 225-strong dealer network. The dealers have been loyal to the Company throughout a difficult period, and we believe they will be rewarded with exciting new products and high service. The funds from Audax will allow us to realize the potential of Indian, and while it will take some time to make these changes, we are convinced that the 'new' Indian is becoming a reality."
Steve Kaplan, Audax Managing Director, said, "Indian Motorcycle represents a unique opportunity to rebuild a once-dominant brand that has worldwide recognition and a passionate consumer base. We believe that by combining the Company's heritage and loyal following with a superior product and strong, national distribution, Indian will regain its strength in the heavyweight motorcycle cruiser market." Tim White, another Audax Managing Director, continued, "Since the Company's rebirth at the end of 1998 with the help of its founder Rey Sotelo, the Indian team has taken a major step forward in rebuilding the Company. We believe that with financial and operating support from Audax, Indian will reestablish itself as a leading player in the motorcycle industry." Geoff Rehnert, co-CEO of Audax, said, "Indian has all the characteristics that Audax looks for in an investment. Our experience solving both operational and financial challenges puts us in a unique position to help Indian execute on its strategic goals."