BILLABONG TRADING HALT AS BIDS CONSIDERED

BILLABONG TRADING HALT AS BIDS CONSIDERED

GOLD Coast sportswear group Billabong has until Thursday to reveal details of two takeover offers that may have been placed on the table by two US suitors.

The company this morning requested a two-day trading halt on its shares pending an announcement on the bid process which has been hanging over the company since early this year.

“The trading halt is requested following receipt of proposals in relation to the process announced on January 14,” Billabong says in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The company announced at the time of its half-year results that it expected due diligence to conclude at the end of March.

“Discussions in relation to these proposals remain incomplete and the company expects to make an announcement as and when discussions are complete.”

The statement from Billabong gives little away.

The company has received one indicative offer from US clothing giant VF Corporation and Altamont Capital Partners, and another from Paul Naude, the long-time boss of Billabong’s American operations, in conjunction with private equity firm Sycamore Partners.

Both bids were initially pitched at $526.8 million, or $1.10 a share.

Two weeks ago Billabong revealed that both bids were still in train after rumours suggested that one had pulled out following a disastrous half-year result from the company.

Billabong’s shares last traded at 73c, weighed down by uncertainty surrounding the bids and the $536.6 million net loss for the December half year.

It is almost certain that any new offer presented by either predator will be much lower than the original target of $1.10.

Analysts from Credit Suisse have suggested Billabong’s shares could fall as low as 59c should a takeover offer fail to materialise.

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