March 31, 2015

Billabong Owners Creeping Up And New Legal Troubles

There have been two little interesting pieces of news come out of Billabong over the last week – Centerbridge and Oaktree have increased their holding in Billabong for two months running with the investors now in control of 38.5% of the company. They’re only small increases but this might be to do with the creep rule in the takeover provisions which limits them to 3% every six months unless they want to make a full takeover … Or I might be completely off there. I’m not a law talking guy. Can anyone else shed light on whether this would apply?

The second bit of news is that Slater and Gordon are running a class action against the company for poorly timed earnings downgrades back in 2011. This is when the company fell from $8.11 to $1.70 with the lead complainant having had the value of their investment halve over a month. Billabong had forecast a steady profit in February of that year but issued downgrades in August and December. Billabong plans to “vigorously defend the claim” which to be honest, shouldn’t take much – they could point to a million press stories about the performance of the company over that time, or the performance of the industry in general. While it would be nice to think that only the facts are put into the company guidance, it’s always glossed with what management wants you to take away from it so it’s worth reading with a bit of skepticism. Perhaps that’s an expensive lesson for those investors?

by Dave