Billabong Said to Get Takeover Offer From Director Paul Naude
Billabong International Ltd. (BBG), the surfwear company that’s been targeted by TPG International LLC and Bain Capital LLC this year, received a takeover bid from director Paul Naude backed by Sycamore Partners LLC, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
Naude and the U.S. private equity firm offered A$1.10 a share, valuing the Australian company at $527 million ($555 million), said one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the bid is confidential. Billabong’s board is considering the proposal, the person said.
Billabong has become a target after selling new stock at a discount to repay debt, closing stores, firing workers and posting a record loss amid a consumer slump. TPG withdrew a A$694 million proposal in October, its second since January, and a company which Billabong didn’t identify walked away from a bid in September. The suitor was Bain Capital, people familiar with the matter said at the time.
Billabong shares climbed 4.8 percent to 98 Australian cents today before being suspended, after the Australian Financial Review reported on Naude’s offer. The company cited “a possible change of control proposal” as reason for the suspension in a filing today, without identifying the bidder.
Naude temporarily stepped aside as a director and executive of Billabong on Nov. 19 to pursue a leveraged buyout, the company said at the time. He owns about 0.2 percent of the stock, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Billabong has lost more than 90 percent of its value since peaking above A$14 in May 2007.
“The company is in trading halt and will make the announcement at the appropriate time,” Chris Fogarty, a spokesman for Billabong, said by phone. He said he wasn’t able to provide a contact for Naude because of restrictions on talking to the media in the terms of the director’s leave from the company.
Blair Fasbender, an external spokesman who has represented Sycamore at Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher, didn’t respond to an e-mail sent out of office hours seeking comment.
Sycamore’s $369 million bid for women’s clothing retailer Talbots Inc. was accepted by the Hingham, Massachusetts-based company’s board in June. The company also bought a 51 percent stake in Mast Global Fashions, the apparel-sourcing division of Victoria’s Secret owner Limited Brands Inc., in November 2011.