AUSTRALIA: VF Corp launches rival bid for Billabong
Australian surfwear brand Billabong has received a rival bid for the brand from VF Corp and private equity firm Altamont Capital Partners, which matches an offer from North American division boss Paul Naude and Sycamore Partners.
The A$524m buyout bid matches the A$1.10 per share offer made by Sycamore Partners in the middle of December. The first bid came as the surfwear company revealed its third profit warning for the year.
Billabong now says it will open its books to the Altamont/VF Corp Consortium, following a similar move to Naude and Sycamore Partners this month.
The brand said it will now evaluate whether a change of control proposal, at a price and on terms the board would recommend, can be secured. It expects this process to take approximately six weeks.
VF Corp, emphasising the preliminary nature of the offer, said the deal is part of its strategy to pursue acquisitions, particularly in the action sports category.
Altamont Capital Partners is interested in acquiring Billabong's other brands and assets and is driven by its desire to "invest in situations where it can provide strategic and operational support to build business success stories".
This proposal is the latest in a string of failed offers for the company over the past year. In February, Billabong rejected an A$3 per share bid from private equity firm TPG Capital, saying it did not reflect the fundamental value of the company.
Subsequent offers of A$1.45 from TPG and Bain Capital were withdrawn after due diligence.
In May, the company named former Target managing director Launa Inman as CEO, who then outlined a four-year transformation strategy in August. The plans include simplifying the business, leveraging Billabong and other key brands, realising the strategic potential of retail, expanding e-commerce and integrating the supply chain.
Last week it appointed Peter Myers as group CFO, replacing Craig White who resigned last month. The brand said Myers has extensive experience working on a number of successful and complex transactions including IPOs, takeovers, refinancing and acquisitions.
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