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Volume 10 No. 23


U.S. private equity group Bain Capital is said to have "dropped out" of the A$700M ($726M) bidding for the struggling Australian surfwear maker Billabong Int'l Ltd., leaving private-equity firm TPG as the only remaining potential bidder, according to Gavin Lower of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Billabong said that an unidentified bidder had withdrawn its indicative offer of A$1.45 a share, or A$694.5 million. The "news caused a sharp drop in Billabong's shares," which closed down 7.3% in Sydney trading (WSJ, 9/20). In Sydney, Blair Speedy reported that "shares in Billabong fell more than 7%" Thursday after Bain Capital pulled out of negotiations to buy the company. However, Billabong said Thursday that it would persist with a formal sale process with potential buyer TPG, which first offered A$1.45 a share in July and is "continuing to conduct due diligence scrutiny of the target's accounts" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 9/21). In N.Y., Cynthia Koons wrote that Bain's exit from the sale process means that there is no possibility a bidding war will push up the price, "unless another party decides to get involved," which "seems unlikely." Other potential investors "will have to wonder what Bain found during the due diligence that changed its mind on the deal." It also comes a few days after rival surfwear company Rip Curl "put a dent in Billabong's sales process by announcing it is looking for a buyer" (WSJ, 9/20).

The sale of retailer JJB Sports "has been dealt a blow after details of a multi-million pound tax investigation by HM Revenue & Customs emerged," according to Jonathan Russell of the London TELEGRAPH. HMRC "has been looking into allegations that the company wrongly charged value" added tax on children’s clothing including ManU and Liverpool replica football kits. Mistakes have been made over more than three years dating back to '06. Details about the matter "have recently been sent" to Mike Ashley's Sports Direct, the frontrunner to buy JJB out of administration. The retailer is expected to be sold out of administration. Accountants KPMG "are handling the sale process, likely to be executed via a pre-pack administration" (TELEGRAPH, 9/19).