Billabong Extends Takeover Talks

Surf wear group is extending its exclusive talks with a consortium led by its former Americas division head by ten days.

SYDNEY — Billabong International Ltd has extended exclusive takeover talks with a consortium led by its former Americas division head for an additional ten days.

The consortium, which is comprised of Paul Naudé and US private equity firm Sycamore Partners, has requested an extension of the original 10-day talks period that expired on April 23, according to a statement released to the Australian Securities Exchange on Wednesday morning.

“Billabong and the Sycamore Consortium agree that both have been working constructively and with the utmost cooperation to progress the Quality of Earnings report and the potential transaction,” the statement said, adding that the period of exclusivity will now end May 8.

The consortium’s proposal is to buy the company for 60 Australian cents a share, or $0.61 at current exchange, or, at the election of Billabong shareholders, exchange for scrip in a new Sycamore subsidiary to be incorporated for the purposes of making the bid.

Sycamore’s takeover proposal is the sixth received by Billabong from four suitors since February 2012, with the highest, 3.30 Australian dollars a share, or $3.43 at rates for period — the second of three made by TPG Capital — rejected by Billabong’s board because it was considered too low. In September, both TPG Capital and Bain Capital withdrew their offers after commencing due diligence. Sycamore’s original proposal was for 1.10 Australian dollars, or $1.13, per share. the company’s shares are currently trading near 47.5 Australian cents, or $0.49.

Billabong added that there was still no guarantee that the proposed Sycamore transaction would proceed.

On Tuesday, as the expiry of Sycamore’s initial 10-day talks loomed, Billabong spokesman Chris Fogarty issued a statement denying reports that that any information had been held back from the consortium.

“My biggest concern is the language that they [Billabong] are using” said Evan Lucas, a market strategist with IG Markets. “You would look at that and say they [Sycamore] would have to really drill down into the books to work out exactly where Billabong is at. In the same sentence, they’re also warning that there is no guarantee that the deal will go through.”