SYDNEY, April 2 Troubled Australian surfwear
firm Billabong International Ltd said on Tuesday it is
still in talks with two takeover suitors and requested a trading
halt in its shares ahead of a possible announcement this week.
Billabong has received offers from a consortium comprised of
private equity firm Altamont Capital Partners and U.S. clothing
group VF Corp and another group led by Billabong's
former U.S. boss Paul Naude and private equity firm Sycamore
The two competing groups had made indicative matching offers
of A$1.10 a share, valuing the company at A$527 million ($549
million), but analysts expect the final bids -- which were due
in last week -- to be around A$0.80-90. That would be slightly
above Billabong's close on Thursday of A$0.73.
The stock, which has lost around two-thirds of its value in
the past year, sank to an all-time low of A$0.63 last month.
VF Corp, which owns brands including The North Face and
Vans, only wants the Billabong namesake brand and plans to give
Altamont the rest of the portfolio, which includes Von Zipper
Billabong said on Tuesday that "discussions in relation to
these proposals remain incomplete." It requested a trading halt
until Thursday, or until it is ready to make an announcement if
Since the two groups made their initial offers, Billabong
has posted a first-half net loss of A$536.6 million and lowered
its full-year guidance, citing difficult trading conditions in
Europe and a disappointing performance from its Nixon watch
The VF Corp and Naude offers are the fourth and fifth
takeover approaches for the Australian company since February
Billabong had a tumultuous 2012, alienating investors after
rejecting a A$3.30 per share bid by TPG Capital that
February as too low. Subsequent offers of A$1.45 from TPG and
Bain Capital were withdrawn after due diligence.
Billabong, which sponsors current world surfing champion
Joel Parkinson, has sold off key assets and replaced its chief
executive in the past year as a result of profit downgrades. It
raised A$225 million in a deeply discounted rights issue to cut
its debt, which currently totals about A$286 million.