Independent Expert Gives Billabong Takeover Green Light

By Jared Hodge

The Superior acquisition bid of $198 million for surfing retailer Billabong has been given the green light by an independent expert.

Grant Samuel and Associates said the proposed acquisition by US firm Boardriders was fair and reasonable and has continued to recommend company shareholders vote in favour of the scheme. The surfwear retailer announced in January that it had entered into a Scheme of Arrangement. Under which Boardriders Inc would acquire all of the Billabong Shares at a price of A$1 per share in cash.

Boardriders is controlled by funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, which holds approximately 19.3 per cent of Billabong shares and is one of the retailer’s two senior lenders. The approximately $198 million deal, if approved by shareholders, will combine two of the largest global active sports brands.

Billabong Director Gordon Merchant owns 12.8 per cent of the company’s shares and also intends to vote in favour of the scheme.

In January, Billabong Chairman Ian Pollard said despite making “significant operational progress in recent years”, it will become necessary for Billabong to materially reduce debt if it is to continue with its current strategy.

Pollard said given the company’s already high debt levels, it is expected to require asset sales or a  dilutive equity raising.

A meeting has been scheduled for March 28 for shareholders to vote on the scheme.


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