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Eddy Merckx Cycles saved thanks to acquisition by Ridley

The acquisition means the brand stays in Belgian hands and ensures its survival

Eddy Merckx
Sam Challis
23 Jun 2017

Ridley has announced that it has taken over the reins at fellow Belgian brand Eddy Merckx Cycles. Despite a 37-year history of making accomplished road bikes in steel, aluminium and carbon the brand has never been as successful as the cyclist it was named after.

After founding the brand in 1980, Merckx sold his majority share in the company in 2008 after he learned that his son Axel did not want to take it on.

The company gradually became less profitable until 2016, when a new buyer gave it a much-needed injection of capital, yet even that wasn’t enough to the brand’s fortunes.

Last year saw the brand in dire straights as it recorded a €5.7 million loss, yet the future now looks bright as Ridley CEO, Jochim Aerts, talks of renewed investment and development in the company.

‘The synergy between the two Belgian brands will help the Belgian cycling industry reach new heights,’ said Aerts.

‘This brand has so much history and means so much to the Belgian cycling industry. Eddy Merckx and Ridley are the most famous Belgian bicycle brands and can now work together - this acquisition creates a kind of cross-fertilisation of the two brands which will beneficial for both parties.

'Belgium is known for its unique cycling culture thanks to riders like Eddy Merckx, so this merger means that Belgium, now more than ever, is at the centre of the world when it comes to cycling.’

Ridley has a presence in the WorldTour with its relationship with Lotto Soudal, something that is lacking for the Eddy Merckx brand.

Such exposure often justifies the hefty expenditure but a brand needs to be in a position to commit to a team to begin with.

The Merckx bikes will now be able to benefit from the information gathered in the top level races when developing new frames.

‘We are delighted that Ridley shares our vision for the future of the Merckx brand,’ said Bart van Muylder, owner of Eddy Merckx Cycles.

‘We felt it was our responsibility to keep this Belgian asset in Belgian hands. Ridley, with its motto "We are Belgium", its global distribution and presence in the WorldTour peloton, is the ideal company to continue the tribute to Eddy Merckx.’

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