Australian surfwear brand Billabong halted trading in its shares today (21 March) after its share price plummeted 14.2% on concerns about a potential takeover offer expected next week.

The company's share price last traded at AUD0.695 before being placed at a trading halt at the request of the company, pending the result of an investigation.

The company has been in talks with two takeover suitors - VF Corp and private equity firm Altamont Capital Partners, as well as North American division boss Paul Naude and Sycamore Partners. Due diligence was expected to be completed by 28 March.

The two companies have made bids of AUD1.10 per share each, which value the company at AUD524m.

Billabong moved to reassure the market, saying that the process for the change of control proposals previously announced is ongoing and that both of the consortia who have submitted indicative proposals remain in the process.

The brand has had a difficult 2012, after rejecting an AUD3.30 per share bid by TPG Capital in February as too low subsequent bids of AUD1.45 from TPG and Bain Capital were withdrawn after due diligence.

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