Contest heats up for Billabong

Oaktree, Centerbridge secure exec to serve as CEO if their bid succeeds.

The battle for control over Billabong International (BBG) is escalating, as US hedge funds Oaktree Capital and Centerbridge Partners have secured a senior surf industry executive who would become head of Billabong if their offer for the company is approved, according to The Australian Financial Review.

The hedge funds have pitched a $395 million recapitalisation plan that is up against a $325 million debt and equity proposal from an Altamont consortium.

The two groups are seeking to differentiate themselves beyond just the monetary value of their bids, but also by arguing their management expertise and strategy is superior.

Billabong's board has hinted a preference for the Altamont offer, in part due to the offer's plans for a long-term turnaround and a new management team lead by former Oakley chief executive Scott Olivet.

However, Oaktree and Centerbridge have argued their offer would leave Billabong with less debt. They also claim to have strong senior management lined-up, though the have said they cannot publicly name the proposed chief executive because of the individual's ties to an existing employer, the AFR added.

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