Senior Editor
Quik! Get the bong!

Quik! Get the bong!


The Inertia

When was the last time you saw someone wearing something Billabong or Quiksilver? Unless you live in the middle of the country somewhere, surrounded by wheat fields and cow farts, then it’s probably been a while. Sure, you’ll see the occasional wetsuit here and there. And yeah, you’ll see an advertisement every now and then, but for the most part, the big brands of surfing have been pretty crippled in the last… I don’t know… decade? Well, Quik just made a $150 million bid to buy all of Billabong’s stock. Or is it stok?

Quiksilver, as you may or may not know, went belly up a few years back when they declared bankruptcy in the United States. Dane and Kelly were gone, no one wore clothes from the ’90s anymore, and Quik seemed to be stuck there. Then a company called Oaktree Capital Management stepped in and ponied up $175 million to keep operations afloat. Quik changed their corporate name to Boardriders, and since it doesn’t really matter if a giant business doesn’t actually make any money, proceeded to do business as usual while people continued not buying Quik stuff.

Oaktree, those sneaky corporate suit-wearers, owns 20-or-so percent of Billabong, too. Which means, of course, that Billabong bought Quik when it went under and now Quik’s buying Billabong. It’s like a circular human centipede!

“U.S. private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management LP holds 19 percent of the shares in Billabong and is one of Billabong’s two senior lenders,” wrote the Reuters staff. “Funds managed by Oaktree also have a majority interest in Boardriders.”

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Billabong’s not just Billabong, though. It owns RVCA, Element, Von Zipper, and the Honolua Surf Company (maybe more, but I don’t care enough to look any further into it). Quik/Boardriders is Quiksilver, Roxy, Hawk, Lib Technologies, and Gnu.

So now, of course, it looks like pretty much of surfing is owned by Oaktree Capital Management. At least they’re headquartered in LA, where wheat fields and cow farts aren’t generally top of mind… unless you go to Kelly’s pool, that is.



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