- Australian surf wear brand Billabong has been sold after a takeover bid from rival Boardriders, which values the company at about $155m.
The deal is a lifeline for the troubled firm, which has only turned a profit in one of the past five years. Queensland-based Billabong suffered a $58m wipeout last year, triple its loss for 2016. The company sells clothing under eight different brands and sponsors surf events around the world. Boardriders was formerly known as Quiksilver, and still sells clothing under its original name. It is owned by US private equity fund Oaktree Capital Management, which was already a major Billabong investor. Well-established in both skiing and skateboarding as well as surfing, the two companies will have a combined 630 shops in 28 countries, Boardriders said. Founded on the Gold Coast in 1973, Billabong listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2000.
In 2012, it rejected a takeover bid worth more than four times the sale price agreed on Friday. But in 2013, it was struggling so badly that it wrote off the value of many of its brands, including cutting the value of the Billabong brand to zero.
“Billabong’s brands’ great strength is their authenticity and heritage,” said chief executive Neil Fiske.
“I’m confident those qualities will not simply be protected but enhanced by a new organisation that will have the scale and financial security to continue to support and build them as we enter into a new and dynamic retail environment.”
Quiksilver was founded in Australia in 1969, but moved to the US, where it listed in 1986. After declaring bankruptcy in 2015, it restructured and became a private company.