Orange County Business Journal

Report: $400M Rip Curl Sale Unlikely

Kari Hamanaka Thursday, March 7, 2013

A possible sale of Australian surfwear maker Rip Curl Group Pty. Ltd. is looking less likely.

The company hasn't identified the party said to have offered around $400 million.

One of the founders of the company, which has its U.S. headquarters in Costa Mesa, told The Australian earlier this week that he was doubtful a sale would happen.

"The public market looks like a bit of a cesspit at the moment," co-founder Brian Singer told The Australian.

Singer went on to tell the local newspaper that a sale could still be possible in the longer term and that the company's founders would likely leave the company "at some point in the next few years."

Rip Curl Group said in September it hired Merrill Lynch to help Rip Curl explore the possibility of a sale after being approached by several potential investors.

The news comes as rival Australian surfwear maker Billabong International Ltd., with U.S. headquarters in Irvine, faces two conditional bids for $550.8 million.

One offer is from a consortium led by Billabong Americas President Paul Naude and also includes New York-based Sycamore Partners, which announced its intent to purchase City of Industry-based retail chain Hot Topic Inc. for about $600 million.

Billabong said it expects due diligence with both parties to wrap up some time this month.

Billabong has takeover offers over the past year from at least four different parties.

The company, which is in the midst of a turnaround strategy, reported a net loss of $549.2 million for the six months through December and global revenue down 5.9% to $716 million.