Billabong to cut jobs, stores amid takeover bid

Amid takeover bid, Billabong to cut 400 jobs worldwide, close stores as profit dives

Associated Press

SYDNEY (AP) -- Surfwear retailer Billabong said Friday it will shed 400 jobs worldwide and close dozens of loss-making stores as it tries to restore its fortunes in a tough retail market. It also received a takeover offer, sending its shares up 46 percent.

Billabong's cost-cutting drive and a decision to sell half of its Nixon Inc. watches and accessories brand was announced as the company reported a 71 per cent dive in six-month earnings to 16 million Australian dollars ($17.3 million).

Billabong International Ltd. has 677 stores worldwide and says it could close between 100 and 150 stores that are losing money or performing weakly. It hopes to reduce its annual costs by AU$30 million.

The company said Friday it received a takeover offer from buyout company TPG Capital earlier this week, but is uncertain the deal will go ahead. The AU$3 a share offer values Billabong at AU$765 million.

Billabong shares surged 46.4 percent to AU$2.62 in Sydney. A year ago its shares were changing hands for about AU$8.

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