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Rumormill: Is Harley-Davidson the target of a takeover bid?

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Filed under: Earnings/Financials, Motorcycle, Rumormill

harley-davidson_logo.jpgWe're not sure if this report should be filed in the Good News folder or the Bad. Harley-Davidson shares jumped an impressive six percent today to their highest level in more than four months. Why? Apparently, the increased activity was spurred by speculation of a possible takeover by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

We're anything but experts on the inner workings of Wall Street, but it seems that the hot action is on short-term March and April call options, which indicates that many traders are betting on a leveraged buyout of the historic American motorcycle manufacturer.

Naturally, neither KKR nor Harley-Davidson is commenting on the matter, though neither party has declined the rumors outright. We'll keep our virtual ears to the ground, and if we hear anything more, you'll all be the first to know.

[source: Reuters]

Rumormill: Is Harley-Davidson the target of a takeover bid? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Mar 2010 17:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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After what they did to Buell, Harley deserves to be taken apart piece by piece. :P

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And another great american company bites the dust...

They made some terrible decisions, like acquiring MV Augusta and being completely clueless in marketing Buell. Sounds like one or two other 'Domestic' corporations we all know. :P

Their biggest mistake though was completely pricing themselves out of the market. For what a person pays for a basic Sportster 883, they can get a bigger bike from the Japanese 'choppertition' that will offer more power, often more features like liquid cooling and supposedly better reliability. Move up to the Harley Dyna, where the base model starts at about 11.5K, and the big cruiser offerings from the other guys look more appealing yet.

I'd also figure they lost potential customers in my age group by not offering a 'big' Harley like a Dyna with a smaller engine like the 1200 or *gasp* 883. However, for a company that seems to exist on machismo, or the perception of it, that'd likely draw boos from the HOG Faithful.

Plus, they really overextended themselves, I think. Last time I was in the States, I perused a Harley dealership in the Seattle area. It had a massive showroom with tons of bikes, but the only two customers besides myself were in the clothing department. Someone's gotta be paying for all that real-estate and fancy digs.

The economic slowdown hasn't been kind at all to the brand, which relies on selling Joe Subdivision dreams of being a Weekend Warrior.

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