From the October Google Webmaster Chat Q &A:

Cynthia, San Francisco: Recently went through a rebranding of our company name. The old domain name was successful in page ranking, however the new domain name has terrible  page ranking.  Do 301 redirects transfer the site equity from the old domain to new domain?

Answer: Hi Cynthia, This is a pretty common question, so we actually did a blog post about it recently. In short, 301's are the best way to retain users and search engine traffic when moving domains. You can find the full post here:

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