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Saturday, August 31, 2013
Billabong Deemed "Worthless"

By Keith Hamm
XGames.com

With Chairman Ian Pollard calling this year the "most challenging period in the company's history," surf apparel giant Billabong released financial statements earlier this week that valued the brand as essentially worthless. 

A handful of other brands under the Billabong umbrella -- including Element skateboards -- were also written down to a zero valuation, according to the statements.

With the bleak news, company stock fell 60 percent from last year, ending the day midweek at a few pennies over fifty cents per share.

In February of last year, the 40-year-old Australian company rejected a buyout offer from TPG Capital that valued Billabong at $3.30 per share. TPG returned to table five months later with an offer of $1.45 per share, which was also turned down. 

The company's financial troubles began a few years back with an international expansion that loaded it with debt. As losses piled up, Billabong cut jobs, shuttered more than 150 stores, cancelled relationships with most of its suppliers and sold its DaKine clothing and equipment label.

Billabong has stated it's moving forward with a $325 million refinancing proposal from Altamont Capital Partners and Blackstone private equity firms. 

However, rival suitors Centrebridge Partners and Oaktree Capital Management submitted what they're claiming is a far better proposal, according to Australian news sources.  

A shareholder vote is expected by October. 

"We are nearing the end of a long process that has caused distraction, impacted on staff morale and has been very costly," Pollard said in a statement. "The company looks forward to refocusing, reinvigorating its brands and rebuilding the business on a solid, longterm financial footing."