Huntington Beach, California – January 4, 2018 – Boardriders Inc., the owner of outdoor and lifestyle brands Quiksilver, Roxy, and DC Shoes, announced today that it has signed an agreement to acquire all the shares of Billabong International Ltd. (ASX: BBG). The Billabong-based Boardriders group has become the global leader in Action Sport with more than 7,000 resellers in more than 110 countries, an ecommerce platform available in 35 countries, and more than 630 stores in 28 countries. The acquisition brings together some of the industry’s most coveted brands such as Billabong, RVCA, Element, VonZipper, and Xcel in addition to those of the Boardriders group.
The new group will have a very diversified activity and will offer to all fans of riding sports innovative product lines and many unifying events. This merger will also strengthen partnerships with their business customers and suppliers, and further invest in brands and the sport action industry in general.
With the support of Oaktree Capital Management, LP (“Oaktree”), the Boardriders Group has improved its operational and financial performance since the beginning of its turnaround in February 2016. The group has streamlined its distribution and cost structure, redesigned the development of its products, and invested in a series of initiatives to reinvigorate brands and the development of ecommerce. This successful turnaround now offers the opportunity for the Billabong Group’s brands to integrate the global platform of Boardriders to accelerate their growth.
At the end of the transaction, Dave Tanner, currently Managing Director of Oaktree and Chief Turnaround Officer of Boardriders, will become CEO of Boardriders. Pierre Agnes, currently CEO of Boardriders, will become Chairman of Boardriders. He will retain his seat on the Board of Directors, and will actively participate in the integration of the two groups.
Dave Tanner explains: “The bringing together of these two major players in Action Sport, including a large portfolio of iconic brands with a strong legacy in surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding, is very exciting for all of us who share the passion for sliding sports. We will do everything to preserve the autonomy, creativity and unique culture of each brand while putting in place our operational know-how to accelerate their growth on a global scale. We are happy to be part of one family with Billabong, and look forward to working together to realize all the benefits expected from this merger.
Pierre Agnes adds: “Creating a global integrated platform will allow the group to invest more in product quality and innovation, digital marketing, consumer services and make the group and the industry more solid. Our larger and stronger group will present new opportunities for our employees, customers, suppliers and athletes. I’m happy and proud to hand Dave over and be with him for this new chapter in the history of the Boardriders Group.
Now that the deal has been signed, discussions will be held with Neil Fiske, the current CEO of the Billabong Group, to propose that he also participate in the governance of Boardriders. “We have a lot of consideration for Neil and what he has achieved in his last years. Personally, I appreciate his strategic thinking and his leadership. I very much hope he will join us to continue to contribute to the success of his big brands, “said Matt Wilson, Chairman of the Boardriders Board, Managing Director and Co-Portofolio manager at Oaktree.
The acquisition is subject to certain customary closing conditions including the agreement of the shareholders, the Australian court and the regulatory authorities. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2018.