Private equity firms Blackstone and KKR are considering joining the bidding race to acquire Australian surfwear company Billabong, according to reports.

Billabong rejected a third offer from private equity firm TPG Capital yesterday (28 February) which valued the company at around 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.

According to The Financial Times, Archer and Pacific Equity are now considering whether to make a bid. The FT reported that KKR and TPG have dedicated Asia funds and have less flexibility than companies such as Blackstone, which invests from one global fund and is under less pressure to do deals in the region.

KKR was linked to a bid for Pacific Brands in early January, with the Australian clothing manufacturer announcing that it was in preliminary discussions with the private equity firm. However, rumours have also surfaced today that TPG is considering a bid for Pacific Brands as well, The Australian Financial Review reported.

Billabong moved to strengthen its board today (29 February), appointing Sally Pitkin as a non-executive director and former Target managing director Launa Inman as a specialist retail advisor.