Say you want a piece of a race-bred motorcycle manufacturing company, but you don’t think Erik Buell Racing is the right fit. How about FTR Moto?
Savvy race fans will recognize the name right away. FTR Moto has had a lot of presence in MotoGP and its feeder series in past years, designing chassis for Moto2, Moto3, and MotoGP, as well as the Spanish CEV championship. The company has also worked with the World Superbike series, and one of its first projects was the Kenny Roberts KR3 project from the mid-90s, when the company was known as Fabrication Techniques.
More recently, FTR hasn’t been doing much in MotoGP. FTR ran into trouble last fall (read about it here on MCN) when it entered insolvency after being purchased by a British company that intended to kickstart its own MotoGP team at its own MotoGP track, the Circuit of Wales. Now, the Circuit of Wales plans have fallen through, and FTR is on the block.
The company’s intellectual property assets are up for sale, including trademarks and its designs. The press release from Metis Partners (the outfit selling the company, which appears to have nothing to do with Louis Riel) does not mention any hard parts in the sale notice—no machining equipment, no finished chassis, etc. (unlike the EBR sale, which is full of the stuff).
So who’d be interested in this? Presumably, acquisition of the chassis design information would be of use to smaller companies building high-end sportbikes—say, Norton Motorcycles, which has certainly been spendy on R&D lately. However, something is worth two prices: The price that someone is willing to sell it for, and the price that someone else is willing to pay for it. The trick for Metis Partners is going to be finding someone who’s got enough money to pay for FTR’s technology and the interest to acquire it. Most manufacturers worth that much already have their own R&D facilities working on superbike chassis design. But seeing that FTR was sold in 2012 for £400,000 and surely has decreased in value since then, it might prove a bargain for a small-volume manufacturer.