Quiksilver Parent Buying Rival Billabong
Quiksilver's parent company is buying rival brand Billabong, bringing together the two action sportswear brands. The combined company will have sales to over 7,000 wholesale customers in more than 110 countries, owned e-commerce capabilities in 35 countries, and over 630 retail stores in 28 countries.
Boardriders, Inc., which owns and operates the Quiksilver, Roxy, and DC Shoes brands, will acquire all of the shares of Billabong International Limited in a deal CNN Money said values Billabong at roughly $380 million Australian dollars ($300 million) including debt.
"Creating one integrated global platform will enable the combined company to enhance its investments in product innovation and quality, digital marketing, consumer engagement, and e-commerce, which ultimately will benefit our consumers and strengthen the company and industry," said Pierre Agnes, currently CEO of Boardriders.
The combined business will be highly diversified and will serve the global community of action sports enthusiasts with a full suite of product lines and a range of community-building activities. Importantly, the strength created by the combination will also allow for deeper and more mutually beneficial partnerships with customers and suppliers, and enable additional investment in the brands and in the action sports industry overall.
Under the ownership of funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P., Boardriders has dramatically improved its operational and financial performance since its turnaround began in February, 2016. The company rationalized its distribution, right-sized its cost structure, rewired its product development platform, and invested in a range of growth-enhancing brand, marketing and e-commerce initiatives. The turnaround of the company and reconfiguration of the Boardriders platform has created the opportunity to bring the Billabong brands onto the same back-office operating platform to accelerate their growth as well.
Upon closing of the transaction, Dave Tanner, currently Managing Director at Oaktree and Chief Turnaround Officer for Boardriders, will become Chief Executive Officer of Boardriders. Agnes, currently CEO of Boardriders, will become president of Boardriders, remain a Board member, and lead a substantial portion of the integration of the two companies.
"The combination of these two leading action sports companies, which include a broad range of iconic brands with deep heritage in surf, snow and skate, is very exciting for all of us who share a passion for outdoor action sports," said Tanner. "We are committed to preserving the autonomy, creativity, and unique cultures of all the brands while we leverage our best-in-class operating platform to accelerate the growth of the brands globally. We are excited to become one family with the Billabong team, and look forward to working together arm-in-arm to achieve the promise that this combination offers."
Agnes added, "with a larger and stronger platform, we see many exciting opportunities for our employees, customers, suppliers, and athletes. I am excited and honored to pass the leadership baton to Dave and to continue to partner with him to drive the next phase in the evolution of Boardriders."
The future role of Neil Fiske, current CEO of the Billabong Group is undecided.
"We have high regard for Neil and what he has accomplished over the years," commented Matt Wilson, Chairman of Boardriders and Managing Director and Co-Portfolio Manager at Oaktree. "I personally have valued his keen strategic thinking and leadership. I very much hope that he will join us for the next leg of this journey and continue his contribution to these great brands."
The acquisition is subject to a number of customary closing conditions, including shareholder, court and regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2018.