Life's better in Gordon's boardshorts
Life's better in 'Gordon's boardshorts'
Billabong founder Gordon Merchant Survives Revolt After Opposing Bid
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 25 October, 2012 : - - Billabong International Ltd. founder Gordon Merchant survived a push to remove him from the board for opposing a takeover bid that valued the surfwear maker’s shares at almost four times their current worth. Merchant kept his board seat after 199 million proxy votes were cast in his favor, compared with 92 million against at the company’s annual general meeting in the Gold Coast today.
Collette Paull, who sided with Merchant in rebuffing TPG Capital’s offer of as much as A$906 million ($934 million), was also reappointed.
Merchant, a surfer and surfboard shaper, cut the company’s first board-shorts in 1973 on his kitchen table and sold them to Gold Coast surf shops with his then partner Rena. He owns about 70 million shares, or 14.6 percent of Billabong.
Merchant and Paull have been skeptical of the approaches from TPG since a cut to Billabong’s profit forecast on Dec. 19. Billabong disclosed TPG’s interest on Feb. 17, saying the buyout group offered A$3 cash per share to purchase the company, including the Nixon brand.
The deal wasn’t certain enough, Billabong said at the time, and Trilantic’s offer for Nixon offered a better chance to reduce its then-A$526 million debt load. TPG returned three days later offering the same amount for the company without Nixon, and was then rejected Feb. 27.
A further offer at A$3.30 a share was rejected. Merchant and Paull wouldn’t support Billabong helping to facilitate a TPG bid even if it offered A$4 a share, the directors said in a letter from their lawyers Minter Ellison attached to the company’s regulatory statement.
'Gordon Merchant in no way prevented the board from accepting any bid proposal that was suggested' Chairman Kunkel said today. “The decisions were made unanimously by the board.”
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Author: The Editors