News Column

Surf Brand Billabong Loses Another Buyer

Oct. 12, 2012
Billabong

Billabong International Ltd lost a lifeline Friday when the private equity group TPG Inc withdrew a takeover bid valuing the troubled Australian surf-wear maker at 694 million Australian dollars (712 million US dollars).

The cash offer of 1.45 Australian dollars a share had been on the table since July, and speculation that it was to be withdrawn saw Billabong's share price fade 22 percent Wednesday.

Billabong founder and 15-per-cent shareholder Gordon Merchant might now regret that he turned down the initial 3.30-Australian-dollar-a-share offer TPG made in February.

TPG is the second equity fund to bail out of a bid for Billabong after the exit of Bain Capital last month.

"Acting in the best interests of shareholders has meant that we have remained focused on implementing the transformation strategy throughout the formal process," Billabong chairman Ted Kunkel said in a statement to the stock exchange announcing it had been jilted once again.

Kunkel said the company was on track to raise pre-tax profits to more than 100 million Australian dollars in the current financial year, which ends June 30, an improvement on the 85 million Australian dollars recorded in the past fiscal year.

Merchant set up Billabong in 1973 and rode the global wave of interest in surfing and beach culture.

A multiplicity of brands followed, including Tigerlilly, Von Zipper and Nixon, and the firm bought up its own retail outlets around the world in the hopes of generating income from property as well as apparel.

Its stock was trading at more than 18 Australian dollars in May 2007 when Billabong and rival Australian surfing brands Rip Curl and Quicksilver were all the rage.

Billabong was trading Friday at 83 Australian cents.



Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH