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Billabong Acquires DaKine

Published August 22, 2008

HOOD RIVER, OR (BRAIN)—Marking its fifth acquisition in the past five years, Billabong International Ltd. reached an agreement to buy surf, snow and bike accessories maker DaKine Hawaii Inc. for as much as $133 million.

DaKine is mainly known in the bike industry for its wide range of packs, gloves and jerseys.

The DaKine purchase will add accessories such as surfboard bags and snowboarding gloves to Billabong's product range while increasing sales by about 4 percent. The company also owns Element and Sector 9.

Billabong will pay $99.9 million cash for DaKine from its existing debt facilities with a deferred payment estimated at $33.3 million due in 2012.

DaKine was founded in 1979 in Hawaii by Rob Kaplan and is currently based in Hood River, Oregon, one of the premier action sports venues in North America. The brand has developed a strong reputation as the global action sports industry's leading provider of specialized backpacks and technical accessories with an excellent historical growth profile.

Billabong International Limited chief executive officer Derek O'Neill said the inclusion of a complementary, authentic and internationally proven boardsports brand added further depth to the Group.

"DaKine is well established within the boardsports sector and it is a brand that has built its reputation on the quality and reliability of its technical range," O'Neill said. "It has built a strong sales base in North America and a growing sales base in several international territories, making it a powerful addition to the Group."

Billabong North America president Paul Naude said DaKine had particular strength in the ocean boardsports sector and had a 20-year history in the snow category with a strong offering in backpacks, bags, gloves and accessories.

"DaKine is a brand that leads the boardsports backpack category, excels in the surf accessories market in the ultimate testing ground of Hawaii and has excellent penetration in winter product categories including snow gloves," Naude said. "It is a brand that is focused on function over fashion and this, together with a strong team of athletes and compelling marketing campaigns, has endeared it to active boardsports participants."

Kaplan said the sale presented synergies for both businesses and he welcomed the additional infrastructure Billabong offered to support future growth.

"Billabong and DaKine have both determined that each of us has complementary skills and strengths and together we have a compelling authentic offer," Kaplan said.

Kaplan will remain integrally involved as a key member of the DaKine management team and will be based in the brand's regional office in Maui, Hawaii. All employees, along with the current management team, are being retained and will remain in the brand's head office in Oregon.

DaKine is expected to contribute approximately 4 percent of Billabong International Limited's Group sales in the 2008-2009 financial year and is expected to be earnings per share positive in year one.

Topics associated with this article: Mergers/Acquisitions

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