Billabong rejects hedge funds' bid

Group confirms receipt of rival bid, says it was too late and 'unacceptable'.

The ongoing saga over the ownership of Billabong International Ltd appears to be moving to a close, with the embattled surfwear manufacturer officially rejecting a rival bid from its financiers.

Earlier this week, Billabong entered into a deal with Altamont Capital Partners that will allow it to repay its existing debt facilities immediately (see Roger Montgomery's Billabong poised for a turnaround).

Altamont's two founding partners will join Billabong's board under the deal, which will see private equity firm take a stake of up to 40% of the group in exchange for $325 million in debt refinancing. Billabong's board has agreed to sell the bag and outerwear business, Dakine, to Altamont for $70 million.

As a condition of the deal Billabong chief executive Launa Inman left the company and was replaced by Scott Olivet, the former CEO and Chairman of sunglass and sportswear giant, Oakley.

Media reports following the announcement of the deal suggested Billabong had ignored a rival bid from Centerbridge Partners and Oaktree Capital, the US hedge funds which bought the bulk of Billabong's debt earlier this year.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Billabong said the rival proposal was received but only after it had entered into agreement with Altamont.

Further, Billabong said the rival proposal was "subject to conditions, a number of which are incapable of satisfaction, and others which would make any refinancing far less certain than under the Altamont Consortium transactions".

"The company notes various media reports of an "offer" received by the company from Centerbridge Partners and Oaktree Capital, the secured financiers under the company's syndicated debt facilities and who will be repaid in full under the transactions announced with the Altamont Consortium," Billabong said.

The surfwear retailer and manufacturer said it had made "numerous requests" to the Centrebridge and Oaktreee consortium prior to securing a deal with Altamont, pushing for a refininancing proposal.

"Despite those requests, the Centerbridge/Oaktree Consortium failed to do so," Billabong said