Mystery bidder makes offer for Billabong
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Nicholas Grove is a Morningstar journalist.
Billabong International (BBG) has received another $1.45-a-share takeover offer from an unnamed party, the beleaguered sports and surfwear retailer said on Thursday.
The bid follows private equity firm TPG Capital's bid of $1.45 cash per share that was tabled in late July and rejected by Billabong.
In a statement, Billabong said both the new bid and TPG's bid do not reflect "the fundamental value of Billabong in the context of a change of control transaction".
As was the case with the TPG proposal, Billabong said it will allow the unnamed party to conduct non-exclusive due diligence "in order to reduce the conditionality of its proposal and to improve its understanding and valuation of Billabong".
"The board of Billabong now considers that the interests of shareholders will be best served by a formal process to thoroughly evaluate whether a change of control offer, at a price and on terms that the board would recommend, can be secured," the company said.
"In order to ensure that the process operates as effectively as possible, the board does not intend to make any further announcements unless and until a recommended offer is secured, or unless there is a development which it considers requires disclosure. This process is expected to take several weeks.
"In any control transaction, the board of Billabong will seek to ensure that the medium to long-term prospects of the company and its unique brands are reflected in the value realised by Billabong's shareholders."
Commenting recently on the TPG proposal, Morningstar senior equities analyst Tim Montague-Jones said he thought it highly unlikely the Billabong board would "flatly reject the bid and walk away".
"We do believe the best option for Billabong is to be completely restructured from the ground up and this is best done out of the glaring view of a public listing," Jones said in a note.
"The bid puts Billabong in play and the board shows signs of bowing to institutional pressure to finalise a deal."
Last week, Billabong announced a full-year net loss after tax of $275.6 million following a number of restructuring costs and asset write-downs. Adjusted net profit fell 74 per cent to $33.5 million.
Chief executive Laura Inman also unveiled a transformation strategy, the first stage of which aims to deliver $30 million in cost savings in fiscal 2013.