Investment bank Moelis & Co. is advising LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s Singapore-based private equity arm on the potential acquisition of the 16-year-old premium swimwear and fashion brand from Gold Coast, Queensland-based surfwear group Billabong International Limited, according to a recent report in The Australian newspaper.
A spokeswoman for L Catterton Asia, formerly known as L Capital Asia, declined to comment on speculation. Moelis & Co. and Houlihan Lokey, an advisory firm reportedly involved in the deal, did not respond to requests for further information at press time.
In August, the newly-installed L Catterton Australia executive chairman Philip Corne told WWD he was looking at six to eight brands in the premium consumer products space in Australia and New Zealand, as L Catterton Asia prepares to “ramp up” growth and development for its current portfolio of investments in the Oceania region and pursue new opportunities.
Launched in 2000 by former model Jodhi Meares – who was at the time the first wife of Australian casino mogul James Packer – Tigerlily was sold to Billabong in December 2007 for an estimated 8 million Australian dollars or $6.71 million at December 2007 exchange.
In Billabong’s 2016 annual report, released in October, the company noted the brand had achieved 21 percent year-on-year sales growth in Australia, record growth in the swimwear category and had “proved again to be one of the region’s strong performers”.
Alongside VonZipper and Xcel, Tigerlily is one of three smaller brands that Billabong has announced it may divest in order to pay down $201.7 million in loans from major shareholders and simplify the business to focus on the three core brands of Billabong, Element and Rvca.
Billabong spokesman Chris Fogarty estimated the brand value of the three smaller brands is 100 million Australian dollars or $72 million, with Tigerlily “one of the largest” of the three.
Fogarty said there had been up to 20 expressions of interest in Tigerlily from around the world, but declined to elaborate on suitors.
The brand has a “beach bohemian” edge and slightly older, early 20s, demographic than Billabong, he added of Tigerlily, whose swimwear has been photographed on celebrities such as Nicole Richie, Mischa Barton, Miranda Kerr and Kate Hudson.