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New buyer coming for Erik Buell Racing

11-12-2015 - New buyer coming for Erik Buell Racing By Rick Barrett of the Journal Sentinel

By Rick Barrett of the Journal Sentinel Updated 7:53 p.m.

The saga of Erik Buell Racing motorcycle company took another turn Thursday when the New Jersey businessman who was expected to take over the East Troy firm was outbid in a second court-ordered auction.

The successful bidder in Thursday's auction will be named Monday, according to Walworth County Circuit Court records.

However, the successful bidder does not appear to be Bruce Belfer of West Allenhurst, N.J., who in August agreed to acquire the manufacturing assets of Erik Buell Racing for $2.25 million.

Erik Buell Racing was the sequel to Buell Motorcycle Co., which Harley-Davidson Inc. owned for more than a decade before dropping the maker of high-performance bikes in 2009 and leaving company founder Erik Buell to start over on his own.

Court records showed the company had $20.8 million in assets and $20.4 million in liabilities when it shut down in April and sought court protection from creditors under a statute that is similar to federal bankruptcy law.

In the first court auction, in early August, Belfer agreed to purchase the manufacturing assets of Erik Buell Racing, while Hero MotoCorp., an India-based stakeholder in Buell, paid $2.8 million for the company's consulting business.

However, the sale of the manufacturing assets went back to court for another auction, because problems with the first settlement kept Belfer from securing financing to capitalize the business and close the deal.

Belfer is a motorcycle enthusiast and owner of several businesses, including a company that manufactures architectural metals products.

Earlier this week, Belfer said, he thought that he had the winning bid for the second auction.

Then, "a well-crafted bid from another buyer was circulated, which required us to surpass his bid by more than we had available in time to close," he said Thursday on Facebook.