Sporting goods giant Nike is rumoured to be a potential buyer of Australian surfwear brand Billabong.

However, when contacted by just-style today, a spokesperson for Nike said: "We do not comment on rumours or speculation about our future plans."

In an effort to drive Billabong's turnaround strategy, the company appointed Launa Inman as its new MD and CEO in May, replacing Derek O'Neil.

However, shares in the troubled surfwear retailer fell 47% to close at AUD0.96 yesterday (25 June) after the market reacted to Billabong's plan to raise AU$225m (US$228m) by selling new shares at a discounted price to payoff debt. 

Billabong rejected a third offer from private equity firm TPG Capital in February, which valued the retailer at AUD841.8m, or $3.30 after major shareholder and founder Gordon Merchant said he would not support a bid that valued the company at less than AUD4.00 a share.

Other private equity firms, including Blackstone and KKR were also rumoured to be considering a bid earlier this year. 

Nike is currently in the process of divesting its Cole Haan and Umbro brands as it works to focus its energies on its core brands. At the end of May the company said the move would allow it to "focus our resources on the highest-potential opportunities for Nike, Inc. to continue to drive sustainable, profitable growth for our shareholders."