Monday, February 05, 2007

Paperstand (TRI, MLS, HOG)

The WSJ reports that Triad Hospitals (TRI) was expected last night to announce a deal as early as this morning to sell the co to private-equity buyers for about $4.4bn. The likely buyers of the co were CCMP Capital Advisors and the private-investment arm of Goldman Sachs. Rival Blackstone Group also was in the hunt and might still snatch Triad at the last moment.

According to the WSJ, Simon Property (SPG) and hedge fund Farallon Capital Mgmt yesterday lobbed in a roughly $1.56bn offer for Mills (MLS), a move designed to derail a $1.35bn agreement with Brookfield Asset Mgmt. Investors had for weeks been expecting a higher offer for Mills, as co's largest shareholder, Farallon has aggressively pushed for a higher offer for the co.

“Heard on the Street” column discusses Harley-Davidson (HOG) saying that riders of Harley motorcycles tend to be a loyal bunch. The co's mgmt team, however, has shown less fidelity, judging by its recent history of selling shares. Together with a slowdown in Harley's US motorcycle sales and its aging leather-clad customer base, the trend of insider-selling may be a reason to gear down expectations for the co's high-octane stock price. The stock is up 129% over the past 5 years. "We would become more aggressive with the stock in the mid-$60s," says Craig Kennison, of Robert W. Baird. Apparently the share price also is rich for Harley's mgmt. As the stock rocketed to dizzying levels in Oct and Nov, 7 execs, including Chmn Jeffrey Bleustein, CEO James Ziemer, the general counsel and the chief accountant, sold a record number of shares, which represented the highest amount of insider selling in dollar value in Harley's history. "When you have consensus-selling, it's definitely more telling of how investors should play the mkt than when just a few insiders sell," says Jaseem Hasib, of Thomson Financial.

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