SYDNEY — The battle for Billabong is over, with U.S. hedge funds Oaktree Capital Management and Centerbridge Partners set to take a 40.8 percent stake of the company.
At an extraordinary general meeting at Billabong’s Gold Coast, Queensland, headquarters on Thursday, 92.55 percent of proxy votes were in favor of issuing 329 million shares to the consortium at 41 Australian cents, or 36 cents, each for 135 million Australian dollars, or $119 million, partial payment of a $360 million debt and equity rescue deal initially proposed in September.
The nearly unanimous shareholder vote brings to a close two years of protracted and convoluted negotiations with six different bidders for control of the embattled surfwear manufacturer, whose share price dropped to as low as 13 Australian cents in mid-2013, against the backdrop of multiple profit downgrades and poor earnings results.
In August, Billabong reported a net loss after tax of 859.5 million Australian dollars, or $776 million at average exchange, in the 12 months to June 30 — more than three times its market value at the time.
Shareholders voted in favor of the Oaktree-Centerbridge deal in spite of a protest earlier in the week by the Australian Shareholders Association, which had proposed the meeting be postponed until the company’s second-half results were disclosed.