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Harley-Davidson For Sale? Huge Spike In Stock Price As Buy Out Rumors Fly

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Harley-Davidson For Sale? Huge Spike In Stock Price As Buy Out Rumors Fly

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Shares of Harley-Davidson Inc. rocketed on heavy volume Friday as reports of takeover interest circulated at a time when bearish bets were at multiyear highs.

The nearly 20% surge was the stock’s HOG, +19.76%  best one-day performance since it shot up 20.5% on March 18, 2009. Volume soared to 23 million shares, which was more than 10 times the full-day average, and the highest level since Oct. 20, 2015. Rumors are circulating KKR  might be interested in buying Harley-Davidson and taking it private, as they have a history of doing. Typically they would buy the public company, bring in their own management team, reduce staff and expenses to improve short term profits, then either sell the company or take it public again.

Harley-Davidson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment and a KKR spokesperson wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Friday’s gain boosted Harley-Davidson’s market valuation by $1.62 billion to $9.82 billion, according to FactSet data.

Some Wall Street traders might call the stock’s oversize reaction to the speculation a “short squeeze.” A so-called short squeeze occurs when investors who borrow a security on the belief that it will fall in value are forced to buy it as prices rise, accelerating share gains.

Short interest, or the number of shares investors have bet that the price will decline, spiked to 29.3 million shares through mid June. That is more than double what it was a year ago, and the highest level since April 2010.

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