Billabong International gets snapped up

Boardriders Inc, the company owning and operating Quiksilver, Roxy, and DC Shoes brands, has acquired Billabong International. The move will see the company taking over brands such as Billabong, RVCA, Element, VonZipper and Xcel. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2018.

In a statement, current Boardriders CEO Pierre Agnes revealed that 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. This is with the aim to benefit consumers and strengthen the company and industry. Upon the conclusion of the deal, Agnes will become president of Boardriders, stepping down from the CEO role. He will remain a board member and lead a “substantial portion” of the integration of the two companies.

A potential future role with Neil Fiske, current CEO of Billabong group, will also be discussed. Meanwhile, Dave Tanner will take on the CEO role of Boardriders. Prior to the move, Tanner was managing director at Oaktree Capital Management and chief turnaround officer for Boardriders. Currently, Boardriders is under the ownership of funds managed by Oaktree, which was responsible for improving its operational and financial performance since its turnaround began in 2016.

“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,” Tanner said.

According to a Boardriders statement, following the turnaround in 2016, the company rationalised its distribution and right-sized its cost structure. It also rewired its product development platform, enabling the company to invest in a range of growth-enhancing brand, marketing and e-commerce initiatives. As such, the move looks to bring the Billabong brands onto the same back-office operating platform to accelerate the brands' growth as well, the statement added.

Boardriders' statement added that the move looks to allow for “deeper and more mutually beneficial partnerships” with customers and suppliers. It will also give Boardrider access 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.

"We have high regard for Fiske and what he has accomplished over the years. 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,” Matt Wilson, chairman of Boardriders and managing director and co-portfolio manager at Oaktree, said.