Billabong yesterday agreed to be taken over by American sports company Boardriders for $208million.
The $1.05-per-share deal, expected to close on April 24, will see founder Gordon Merchant pocket $25.6m for his 12.3 per cent stake.
There was no sign of the Gold Coast tycoon at the board meeting yesterday where 95 per cent of shareholders, including him, approved the deal to hand over the company he’s nurtured for 45 years since 1973.
Friends say he escaped overseas because he was too devastated to be there.
The $1.05-per-share deal, expected to close on April 24, will see founder Gordon Merchant pocket $25.6m for his 12.3 per cent stake
Mr Merchant’s net wealth fell by $584m from $904m at Billabong’s peak in 2007 to $320m in 2014 after shares crashed in the wake of heavy losses, according to the BRW Rich 200 list.
After the vote, Billabong chairman Ian Pollard paid tribute to Mr Merchant, saying: ‘He is one of the very few Australian business figures who actually built a global brand from the ground up – it’s an enormous legacy.
He added: ‘I don’t think I can accurately speak about Gordon’s feelings. He decided it was better if he wasn’t here today, even though he had done everything he could in supporting this transaction.’
CEO Neil Fiske said the company, which was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2000, would be in ‘a far better position to compete globally’ under the new ownership.
The surf store, valued at $4billion in 2007, has suffered in recent years due to slowing sales.
It joins Arnott’s biscuits, Quicksilver, and Bonds underwear in the list of Australian companies recently sold overseas.
There was no sign of the Gold Coast tycoon at the board meeting yesterday where 95 per cent of shareholders, including him, approved the deal to hand over the company he’s nurtured for 45 years since 1973
Boardriders Inc, is a global action sports and lifestyle company that owns and operates Quiksilver, Roxy, and DC Shoes brands.
CEO Dave Tanner said: ‘We believe that this transaction represents the best value for all stakeholders – shareholders, employees, vendors and customers.
‘We are pleased to see that the Billabong shareholders recognized this value, and have approved the proposed acquisition.
‘We have now cleared a significant milestone, and we are one step closer to creating the world’s leading action sports company.
‘We look forward to uniting the Billabong and Boardriders communities and building a foundation to better showcase and grow the action sports industry.’