Industry News 12/21/2005

IT'S OFFICIAL - Billabong to acquire Nixon

IT'S OFFICIAL - Billabong to acquire Nixon

IRVINE, Calif., – Billabong International Limited today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire 100 percent of Nixon Inc, a leader in the premium watch and accessories board sports market.

Billabong International Limited chief executive Derek O’Neill said Nixon is a California-based, closely-held corporation founded by Andy Laats and Chad DiNenna.

“Since its inception in 1997 Nixon has been a very focused watch brand with great product, great people and tight distribution through the core surf, skate, snow and fashion channels,” said Mr. O’Neill. “Nixon founders Andy Laats and Chad DiNenna have demonstrated their ability to establish and grow an authentic brand and the business is an excellent fit within the Billabong group.”

Billabong USA President Paul Naude was excited by the opportunity to work with the team at Nixon.

“The passion from Andy and Chad flows throughout the brand and its people and I’m excited to have the opportunity to work closely with them to help Nixon realize its enormous potential,” Mr. Naude said.

Both companies felt that the timing and chemistry was a good fit. “The Nixon brand and company are as strong as they’ve ever been and now is the right time to join a strong and experienced partner to help us reach our full potential,” explained Nixon co-owner Chad DiNenna.

DiNenna and Laats both agreed that Billabong’s overall approach had great appeal to Nixon. Said Laats: “The Billabong group has a lot to offer; the character of their leadership, our shared vision of Nixon’s future and their expertise in the specialty markets make them the perfect choice.”

It is anticipated that Nixon, a youth-inspired premium watch and accessories business distributed in some 30 countries, will contribute in the range of 5 to 6 per cent of Billabong International’s group sales in the 2006-07 financial year.

Consistent with Billabong’s general philosophy, both founders will continue running the business. Mr. Laats will remain as President and Mr. DiNenna will continue to direct global marketing efforts.

The purchase price comprises an initial payment estimated at $US54.6 million and a conditional maximum deferred amount calculated as the greater of an estimated $US18.2 million or 2.25 times 2010 EBITDA.

The purchase is conditional on approval by Nixon’s shareholders and clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Anti Trust Improvement Act.  It is anticipated that the outcome of these conditions will be known around the end of January 2006. USBX Advisory Service, LLC acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Nixon on this transaction.

For more information:
Jim Kempton
949-753-7222 ext. 363