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from Photographers' Blog:

China’s easy riders

Qian Dao Lake, China

By Carlos Barria

“They're not scared of you. They're scared of what you represent to them."
"Hey, man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut."
"Oh, no. What you represent to them is freedom."

-- from the movie Easy Rider

A girl arrives at the parking lot wearing tiny leather shorts and sits on the back of a bike with a horse power of more than 1,000 CC. Next to her a man gets ready to ride, wearing a skeleton mask. It’s more than a fashion show, it's an extravaganza on two wheels along Chinese roads.

Last weekend, around 1,000 Harley Davidson enthusiasts from all over China met at the exclusive resort of Qian Dao Lake, in Zhejiang Province, southeast of Shanghai, to celebrate the 5th Harley Davidson National Rally in China, as part of the company's 110-year anniversary.

Riders told me that for Chinese consumers, owning a Harley is more than a symbol of freedom, as conceived in the 1969 movie Easy Rider. In China, they said, Harleys confer status and turn heads.

from Breakingviews:

Hog Wild for a Buyout?

Could Henry Kravis handle a hog? Harley-Davidson’s shares revved up this week on talk of a leveraged buyout, and Mr. Kravis’ firm, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, was one name mentioned. The iconic motorcycle maker can absorb plenty more debt, though the price tag and the cyclical nature of the business mean a deal would be no easy ride.

Harley has roared back to life, overtaking frets about its aging customer profile and younger bikers opting for rival brands like Ducati. At around $28 apiece, Harley’s shares are more than triple their recession low, including Tuesday’s 6 percent bounce. Figure any deal would require a premium of at least 30 percent, and the implied equity valuation would be about $8.5 billion.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Hog Wild for a Buyout?

Cross-posted from today's NYT.

Could Henry Kravis handle a hog? Harley-Davidson’s shares revved up this week on talk of a leveraged buyout, and Mr. Kravis’ firm, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, was one name mentioned. The iconic motorcycle maker can absorb plenty more debt, but the price tag and the cyclical nature of the business mean a deal would be no easy ride.

Harley has roared back to life. At around $28 apiece, Harley’s shares are more than triple their recession low, including Tuesday’s 6 percent bounce. Figure any deal would require a premium of at least 30 percent, and the implied equity valuation would be about $8.5 billion.

from The Great Debate UK:

What women want: the power of the female economy

clark- Professor Moira Clark is Director of the Henley Centre for Customer Management at Henley Business School. The opinions expressed are her own. Reuters will host a “follow-the-sun” live blog on Monday, March 8, 2010, International Women’s Day. Please tune in.–

“What does a woman want?” was a question that tormented Sigmund Freud despite thirty years of research into the “feminine soul”. He felt he was never able to answer this question, and sadly it would seem that many companies today still haven’t figured it out.

from From Reuters.com:

The day ahead: Thursday

Extending its dominance of Wall Street, Goldman Sachs is expected to report that its profit more than doubled in the third quarter.

*  The market is looking at IBM for signs of improvement in corporate technology spending and comments on the company's M&A strategy.

from MacroScope:

Green shoots, Easy Rider edition

OK, so a nearly 10 percent drop in U.S. sales is nothing to crow about, but it sure beats a 19.6 percent fall. Harley-Davidson's stock is jumping today -- and has more than doubled since March -- because of stronger-than-expected earnings and a much smaller sales decline in its biggest market.

Sure, some may disagree, but a new Harley isn't exactly a necessity. If Americans are a little more willing to buy one, that does lend support to the idea that the recession is at least loosening its grip on the world's biggest economy.

from DealZone:

Bye-bye cool tickers? DNA and BUD head for bin

budweiser-factory.jpg

Pity the guys who dreamt up two of Wall Street's coolest tickers -- DNA and BUD -- both of which look set to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Genentech grabbed the three letters synonymous with biotechnology by being in on the ground floor of the gene revolution. Anheuser-Busch was lucky enough to have a beer brand known everywhere by one syllable. Now both look doomed. dna-global-logo.gif

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