Shares in Billabong have been placed in a trading halt ahead of a release from the company concerning a possible change of control proposal. Billabong stock hit a two-month high of $1.015 amid speculation that former executive Paul Naude made a takeover bid for Billabong over the weekend. In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Billabong said the halt was necessary ahead of the announcement. The halt would remain in place until the announcement of the beginning or normal trade on December 19.

According to The Australian Financial Review, Mr Naude has offered the company a takeover price of $1.10 per share. Such a bid values Billabong at $526.79 million. According to the AFR, Mr Naude has the support of US private equity group Sycamore Partners. Sycamore is led by Golden Gate Capital veterans Stefan Kaluzny and Peter Morrow and is no stranger to acquiring listed retailers that it considers to be under-performing. Sycamore specialises in consumer and retail investments, and bought out struggling US retailer Talbots earlier this year in a deal valued at around US$193.3 million. Three months later, Dow Jones reported Sycamore raised more than US$1 billion for its debut fund, which was to target struggling companies in the mid-market retail and consumer business sectors.

Naude first flagged his interest in a possible leveraged buyout of the company in November. At the time, Billabong said it had given him six weeks to discuss the potential takeover with financiers. Naude stepped down from his position with Billabong while he considers the possible deal.

( Source ASB Australia )

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