Billabong bought by Quiksilver owners, moves offshore

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Three weeks after being approached with a takeover offer from Boardriders, the board of Billabong have accepted the terms. Boardriders already own Quiksilver, and with Billabong they'll own two of the former 'Big 3' Australian surfwear companies. The third, Rip Curl, remains private though the owners are looking for a buyer.

The deal is worth $380 million, which includes Billabong's existing debt. Back in August, Billabong posted a full-year loss of $77.1 million — more than triple its net loss from last year.

Under this deal, Boardriders will pay $1.00 for every share in the Australian company. However, that $1.00 is effectively $0.20 after Billabong did a 5 for 1 share consolidation in 2015.

In 2012 Billabong founder Gordon Merchant rejected an offer of $3.30 a share from TPG telling them he "wouldn't accept anything under $4 a share".

Since then the surf industry has fallen off a cliff following an online retail onslaught and the shifting winds of fashion.

The Billabong deal is expected to be finalised by April. If finalised without complication, Boardriders will own Quiksilver, Roxy, DC, Billabong, RVCA, Element, Von Zipper, Honolua Surf Company, Kustom, Palmers Surf and Xcel.

Comments

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 12:54pm

So all those years of promoting the fuck out of surfing in order to sell more T shirts and the resultant global overcrowding of line ups was for.....what ?

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 1:18pm

Not a question that has ever been asked in the boardroom of any of those companies I would think Blowin, except in the context of maximising their profits and inflating their over blown lifestyles. Greed might have been good but cocaine was even better.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 1:38pm

Cocaines a hoax.

Amazing situation getting twisted and loose with an exotic specimen of the opposite sex , but the grim reality I see more often than not is people talking shit around a mirror or dinner plate for hours.

Usually somewhere glamorous like a shithouse or a suburban kitchen .

Is that what the years of uncrowded waves were swapped for ?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 1:41pm

"Cocaines a hoax.

Amazing situation getting twisted and loose with an exotic specimen of the opposite sex , but the grim reality I see more often than not is people talking shit around a mirror or dinner plate for hours.

Usually somewhere glamorous like a shithouse or a suburban kitchen "

Hahaha, I nominate this for post of the year.. already. So good.

Tarzan71's picture
Tarzan71's picture
Tarzan71 commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 1:56pm

Incredibly accurate analogy Blowin, Having a wild time with unknown repurcussions, diseases and come downs, huge regrets the next day and product being sourced in 3rd world sweat shops to make the jetset look and feel great about themselves.

Fuck yeah, sign me up!

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 4:08pm

I can vaguely recall have many an enlightened and highly enjoyable at the time, sunrise hour huddled around a mildly heated dinner plate with a vociferous group of misfits and strangers.
Sean Penn once said (in front of his then wife) the most fun you could ever have is in a hotel room with two hookers and an eight ball of coke. They're now divorced.

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 1:46pm

"Only a Snorter knows the feeling"

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 2:02pm

hahaha....anyway where does Gordon still fit into all this rejecting $ 3.30 ....or has he gone like the dodo?

Yeah all for what......same with all these blokes selling surfing down the gutter...

simba

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 2:18pm

and..."Life's better when the Boardsnorts"

EWOK's picture
EWOK's picture
EWOK commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 2:29pm

Welcome to capitalism, there was dollars to be made a people took the opportunity. Happens all the time so why would surfing be any different

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 4:18pm

Surfing was different in a number of ways EWOK. Most professional sports provided much more support to their athletes for one. I think it is fair comment that the treatment of many surfers by major brands was basically exploitation. It is irresponsible for corporations to lead young people to believe that they have a career in the sport and dump them at the first sign they don't. It is even more irresponsible to encourage the kind of drug use that was occurring from the 70s on amongst many pros and players in the surf business. Then there is the issue of failure to adequately fund and protect the grass roots. Anyone out there remember their local club getting anything from Ripaquikbilly?

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 4:29pm

Jeez BB I think that is a simplistic criticism that is an unfair generalisation. Although I am with you on the fact that it is/was a very different model to mainstream business and sporting models.

Personally I could write a page about the support of grass roots surfing by not only the big three but most of the smaller players as well.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 5:12pm

" A different model" excuses nothing lj. And as for the page about support? Go for it, unless you intend to put up a list of pro juniors and sub-QS events which are just promotion, not support.

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 5:33pm

The list is long that I know of and i am sure some surfing administrators on here could detail it all. Rusty Gromfest, BL Blastoff, surf schools, numerous club challenge events where club get benefits, disabled surfers events, indigenous surfers events etc etc.
I agree that there have been some questionable events involving individuals, drugs and mentoring issues. But as a teacher, you of all people would recognise that not even the most trusted and respected organisations and businesses whose actual charter is based on duty of care have upheld their core responsibility.
BBG, QS and the likes certainly need to care for their sponsored charges but that becomes a very blurred line in the world of surfing.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 5:54pm

The majority of things you claim as support were just promotions. So let's ask the hard questions. A lot of money was made by using surfing as a marketing tool to reach a non-surfing market. What percentage of that was actually re-invested at grass roots level? What career paths did they offer the surfers they sponsored? What financial advice did they provide to their sponsored surfers? How many of the numerous casualties did they encourage into rehab? It is pretty much the worst possible defence when you have behaved badly to point out that others were worse, which seems to be the line you are taking. On that point surfing might not have been as bad as the Catholic Church but there were always sexual predators out there and some in quite powerful positions.

AJ's picture
AJ's picture
AJ commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 3:09pm

It will be interesting to see how the negotiations go with the WSL with future events sponsorship. Seems like it might be down to Boardriders, Hurley/Nike and Ripcurl with a 3 event program in future years maybe? I would hate to be a sponsored rider for the boardriders group at the moment.

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 3:55pm

all jokes aside it is really a sad day for Australian surfing when one thinks it through.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 4:23pm

I'm not sure if you're being facetious LJ, but I reckon today is significant. Sad is too strong, but it's poignant in that it represents the end of an era. For good or ill - and the last decade it's been mostly the latter - Billabong and Quiksilver helped shape Australian surfing culture from the late-70s onwards.

Yeah, we're savvy consumers now, wise to the marketing game which seems little more than disengenuous weasel words and rehashed ideas, yet there was a time when the companies and the core were largely in lockstep. Somewhere along the way the paths diverged, was it when Billabong hired Mathew Perrin? Who knows? Perhaps we just all grew up?

Today was a long time coming but, without getting too melodramatic, it marks the point where there's no semblance to what Billabong once was.

So fuck it, we should thank 'em for the good things they did: fluro cords, the '86 Hawaiian Billabong Pro, putting Occy on the payroll, Joe Engel too, and Margo, the Desert Challenges, the Dream Sequence, Surf Into Summer, funding Jack McCoy etc etc.

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 5:04pm

Not being facetious one little bit Stu. Every point you have made (plus a few pages more) is exactly how I feel about such a dramatic event as this.
I feel for the original founders, the likes of Gordon, as a hard core surfer with a deep passion for surfing and the contribution he has made to many peoples lives would be hard to measure. The damage done to BBG and QS was not the work of the passionate founders and surfers, although there is a litany of senior surfer/managers who got hooked on the power, cash and substances flowing around them. No tears for them.
Initially brought undone by persons infiltrating the various businesses with no surfing passion and an agenda of greed at any cost unravelled the tight knit industry to it's eternal demise. We will never see the likes of those times again.

sharkman's picture
sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Monday, 8 Jan 2018 at 12:16pm

I think it is sad , as all the people who work and worked at these Co's have no job security or future in the Surf Industry , as its now just 100% business and make profit.
I think surfers were the main driving forces behind shaping Australia's Surfing Culture and the Co's were just bit players , as surfers were the brand , and by having 2 sponsors such as say Quik shorts,RC wetsuits you were an individual brand.
when the first 100% deals came in as per Tom Carrol , the Co's then could absorb the surfer into their brand , and now had complete control over the surfer , more money /lost individuality/brand .
You can see now, the disconnect between the Surf Industry , WSL, athletes and the actual culture of surfing , and maybe that's why the Industry is in such negative territory!

x

daisy duke kahanamoku's picture
daisy duke kahanamoku's picture
daisy duke kaha... commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 4:30pm

You put fluoro corduroy first?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 4:43pm

Yep, and it was in order of merit.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 4:53pm

Gotta agree about the Jack Mccoy movies,so many surfs with those tunes and visuals ,margo ,Occy,Dorian playing in my brain made a man want to go surf and travel......yes early nineties were the bomb.

simba

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 5:17pm

" The damage done to Billabong and Quiksilver". Jesus what about the damage done by them? They were the very model of corporate irresponsibility and global poster boys for self indulgence shallowness, but if that floated your boat well who am I to quibble?

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 6:02pm

Don't think i said i support corporate irresponsibility etc. I think a lot of that stuff was down to infiltrators and hangers on, not the original surfer founders.
What damage are we talking about that is any worse than any big organisation have been caught out for.
Comm bank 'taking' retired folks money by their 'trusted' advisors, banks in general involved in questionable behaviour over assisting the depositing of massive cash amounts aligned with crime, the list is endless.
Agreed, yep that scurge of corporate success and excess, cocaine was reportedly rife in some circles of surfing industry, as it was and is (apparently) rife at the highest levels of business, medical and legal professionals.
So what exactly is the "Jesus what about the damage done by them"?

4kinkrail's picture
4kinkrail's picture
4kinkrail commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 6:52pm

Just saying.... but you guys all sit there and bash these brands and the guys behind it, but Id put my house on it, that given the opportunity, every single one pf you would be up to your armpits in coke and hookers at the best beaches in the world, given the opportunity and bot one thought would be given to the little people.... you guys are all full of shit and it stinks of jealousy.. you may say I am wrong but we all know, you guys are as selfish and shallow as every other person on the planet... its a simple choice in life, choose the left or the right, and I guarantee EVERYONE will choose the same...

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 10:20pm

I didn't realise you needed to be in the "surf"wear rag trade to get hold of Coke and hookers.

Someone better break this news to Charlie Sheen.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 7:12pm

Sorry to disillusion you but quite a few of us had the opportunity to join the party or whatever it was, but chose to walk. In retrospect, the smartest decision I ever made. The coke and hookers thing was always the shallow end of the fantasy pool. If that was the best they could come up with god what lack of imagination!

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 8:16pm

same page BB, to me drugs were a waste of time and money that created distraction and handbrake to maximum your surfing performance.
many mates sadly chose that path and paid the price.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 10:38pm

I reckon if you drew up a ledger for and against these surf co's then they'd be glaringly in the red .

Pros:

- Functional hardware . Basically starting and finishing at boardies and I reckon most mums would give them a run for their money on the old Singer Overlocker . Everything else - boards , leggies , wetties , wax was done better by others.

Surf movies - celluloid inspiration. A few of these were iconic .

Cons :

Blowing surfing out of the water crowd wise . Utterly inexcusable. Dwarfs anything positive they've ever done by an infinite multiple. Who likes surfing in crowds ? Who likes turning their back on epic days at great breaks due to sheer volume of surfers ? Who likes going through their bucket list of dream waves with a red pen and ruling out those ruined by exposure and crowds ?

Usurpation of public areas for their private business circle jerks .

Seems pretty cut and dried to me that these fuckers were and are LITERALLY the worst thing that ever happened to surfing.

Sad day my arse.

They are businesses . Businesses that benefitted a few at the expense of the majority. I hope there's a special hell reserved for their location scouts. Even talking about them as though they're a contributing factor to surfing makes me ill.

Sure I've worn their shit. Especially when I was a mindless grom. But all you've got to do is go surfing somewhere away from the marketeers to realise what a hoax their " contribution " is. And that includes the stars like Kelly Slater.

Look at somewhere like WA. What have they ever done that was positive for the joint ? Exposed some spots , prevented the public from surfing in the ocean at their discretion due to their comps. Gave some coin to a handful of pros.

A pox on the lot of them.

thelostclimber's picture
thelostclimber's picture
thelostclimber commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 7:45pm

"The Billabong deal is expected to be finalised by April. If finalised without complication, Boardriders will own Quiksilver, Roxy, DC, Billabong, RVCA, Element, Von Zipper, Honolua Surf Company, Kustom, Palmers Surf and Xcel."

I'm just gonna go get all my eggs and put them in this single basket. Gotta make money that way.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 8:28pm

Gotta admit, if I try really hard and squint way back into the past at the 14 year old me who pined for the fluoro cords I can almost muster a scintilla of sentimental melancholy.

Almost. But mostly I couldn't give a fcuk.

The train wreck has been going on too long and they sold us out too blatantly and too stupidly for me to care.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

poo-man's picture
poo-man's picture
poo-man commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 8:47pm

I've still got my fluoro pink cord jacket. Gets the occasional wear still.
But yeah what a slow motion train wreck over so long. So the plan I take it is to take the company private again.....then quickly make it profitable again..........through flogging more product at discount prices.......then float it public again and make a quick exit......isn't that what private equity players do? After all they can't be that stoked on how their Billabong investment has gone profits wise so far.

poo-man

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 10:35pm

Fuck , I'm not the only 14 year old that ever cast an eye over the cord Billy jeans covering his grommet pins and felt a bolt of confidence.

Advertising : Insidious .

Confidence : everything.

Mmmmm

eat-your-vegies's picture
eat-your-vegies's picture
eat-your-vegies commented Friday, 5 Jan 2018 at 10:39pm

Well , if you guys don’t want the coke and hookers I’m happy to do it.

Woof woof 41's picture
Woof woof 41's picture
Woof woof 41 commented Saturday, 6 Jan 2018 at 11:27pm

This sounds like a stabmag forum!
How did the selling of quicksilver become a topic about who thinks Cocaine is good or not!
OK in the USA they think there's around 1.5-2millon users.
I think that's greatly underestimated.
And 10,000 died from Cocaine over doses.
This is not including those who died transporting it or in drug wars to get it to us/ USA or Australia..
I think it's pretty popular for people to go through this shit and want more..

Woof woof 41's picture
Woof woof 41's picture
Woof woof 41 commented Saturday, 6 Jan 2018 at 11:29pm

Quicksilver /overdose blah blah spelling sorry

Squidy's picture
Squidy's picture
Squidy commented Sunday, 7 Jan 2018 at 7:26pm

Yep I thought I looked so cool wearing my blue , pink and yellow cord jacket to the blue light discos many years ago. If Billabong had of bought back the cord range their financial problems would of been non existent

Wendal's picture
Wendal's picture
Wendal commented Monday, 8 Jan 2018 at 8:29am

When was the last time you picked up a pair of $80 boardies made in Australia???? The company’s have been off shore for many moons ...
Business is money not loyalty!

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Monday, 8 Jan 2018 at 4:12pm

I think after reading Phil Jarrets book, nobody could feel sorry for any of these companies. They pissed, snorted and injected away a fortune with zero future planning or care for anybody but themselves and a good time. Quicky seemed to go down the gurgler once the yanks got hold of it, thanks in initially to one J. Hackman from memory.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Thursday, 14 Jun 2018 at 8:47am

Shop Eat Surf reported this morning: "Less than two months after Boardriders' acquisition of Billabong closed, Neil Fiske (former Billabong CEO) is named the leader of Gap, one of the world's largest retailers."

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