Orange County Business Journal

Billabong Shares Rise on Founder’s Interest in Buyout Offers

Kari Hamanaka Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Shares of Australia-based Billabong International Ltd. were up about 6% today after company founder Gordon Merchant told a newspaper there that he would consider new buyout offers for the company.

Shares closed at $1.02, giving the company a market value of about $257.4 million.

Billabong International is the parent of Irvine-based Billabong USA, and sells apparel and accessories under several brands including Element, RVCA and Honolua.

Merchant, who owns more than 15% of the company’s shares and holds a seat on the board, told the Australian Financial Review that he would consider offers lower than $4 a share. He had called the price a dealbreaker in a letter sent to the company’s board earlier this year by an attorney for Merchant and director Colette Paull.

The letter went on to cite a price that valued Billabong at about $1.1 billion.

The letter followed two separate offers to buy the company from Fort, Worth, Texas private equity firm TPG Capital Partners LP, whose last bid for Billabong was $909.2 million.

Billabong broke off talks with TPG and instead sold half of its Encinitas-based watch and accessories brand Nixon Inc. for $285 million in net proceeds.

Billabong announced a plan last week to raise $228.6 million through the sale of 221 million new shares.