Australia's Billabong says director weighs LBO, shares jump

MELBOURNE Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:18pm EST

MELBOURNE Nov 19 (Reuters) - Australian surfwear company Billabong International Ltd, which had potential buyers withdraw takeover offers last month, said on Monday one of its directors wanted to investigate a possible leveraged buyout of the firm.

Billabong shares jumped as much as 17 percent on the news to value the firm at A$412 million ($425 million).

The company said board member Paul Naude would stand aside from his role as president of the Americas while he looked at putting together a buyout proposal.

"Mr Naude has advised that he is seeking to hold discussions with potential financiers, both debt and equity, to gain their support for a potential change-of-control transaction of Billabong," the company said in a statement.

Billabong said there was no arrangement with any other executive about the proposal, and put conditions on Naude's proposal including providing no confidential information to potential financiers.

The shares last traded up 16.2 percent at A$0.86. They are up from record lows below A$0.80 hit in October afters suitors walked away from a bidding process.

Private equity firms TPG and Bain Capital LLC withdrew from $700 million bids for Billabong last month, without giving reasons.

Billabong was initially approached by TPG in February but rebuffed an offer of A$3.30 a share, opting instead to sell half of its watch brand Nixon and raise A$225 million in equity to reduce debt.

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