ASB MAGAZINE: Boardriders Inc announced the acquisition of Billabong International on Thursday in the USA and the deal was confirmed at the opening of the ASX on Friday AM, here in Australia. While local industry is only returning to work today, Monday 8th of January, we did a quick whip around the country to find out how industry leaders are reacting to the news. We’ll update this story throughout the day, but the consensus so far being that both companies will be better off not being listed. Have your say by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
READER REACTION; [Ed’s Note; Appearing in timeline order, 🙏 to all who’ve returned our calls and emails and a special shout to Victor in Tassie, the first one back to us and always with a positive outlook🤙]
“As a longtime surf industry participant and an even longer surfer participant growing up with Quicksilver and Billabong I am feeling a little bit sad that these 2 icons of the industry have ended up where they are today. I can understand that the owners are allowed to start a business, nurture it to success and sell it after years of hard work and sacrifice as I have done and so many others have done but I just can’t help feeling nostalgic and sad to see the changes that have occurred. However, that is life and in the same time that Quicksilver and Billabong have been alive the world has changed in so many ways. I now see the opportunity for new creative brands to emerge more and more and this excites me. At least we can all still enjoy a good surf on a good surfboard and after all that’s all that really counts!” Mark Eymes- Retail Consultant
“We will just keep our heads down and get on with our own business.” John Mossop – VISSLA General Manager
“On one hand, I really think that this is move highlights that publicly traded companies in the industry aren’t a good thing. Also, I don’t see that 1 + 1 will necessarily equal 2 or more here. The business economy is changing and I don’t necessarily think that this is a great move to enhance the nimbleness of either company.” Mark Kelly, CEO /Founder Global Surf Industries.
“Not really sure about the implications of the Boardriders deal. Time will tell.” Carmelo Ierna- City Beach.
“Not being public is a good thing, more change for (the) years ahead.” Michael Di Sciascio – Strapper Surf
Reaction: “There are a lot of smart people working at Boardriders and Billabong, if they see this as the next evolution of their great brands and businesses then I am excited to see how it develops over the coming year(s) Forecasting: “If I look back 2 years I would have said no, I didn’t think it will happen – if I look forward 2 years I see that there is a lot of potential benefits for the business, brands, retailers and consumers that had me feeling it will happen. Culture: “Culture is 100% people – get that right and it will be a smooth transition. Other than the migration of systems and processes which will take some time the passion for surfing/snow etc. should see things transition well. Reaction from core customers “I see that there will be some great benefits for retailers and consumers if/when the sales forces, designers and marketing leads have had 12 months under the new structure. Retailers should be excited at the changes & consumers will see more segmentation of products and distribution for their individual needs. Damian Campbell– Director – Franchise/Distributor & Sport Channel
Reaction: “It seems that both companies will be better off not being listed. From an internal and working point of view, everyone may be better off not having to constantly answer to shareholders. Forecasting: “When you reach a critical mass of brands, product, retail, something has to give and a market may go backwards to move forwards again. Everyone wants to grow, but sometimes being a strong business at a certain size and good at what you do, is all that’s important. Culture: “Obviously making profit is key, but culture and building product that makes a difference is paramount. It’s not always better to be bigger. It’s sometimes better to simply be good at what you do. Nothing will ever replace human interaction and relationships and I think this is key with our limited distribution here in Australia. Opportunity: It has been interesting to see the support levels afforded to businesses that have been in direct competition with independent. There is always a possible upside for brands that are dedicated to this independent distribution channel, but they will need to be as good and always deliver. It will be an interesting time for the industry and I think it is crucial that there is diversity for the market to grow and to possibly return to a situation where the surf industry is a unique and somewhat rebellious place to be. Reaction from core customers “When it’s all said and done, I hope that most people we service (consumers) don’t hear about all these market dynamics and simply use our product to have a better life, be it surfing, travelling, getting amongst it.” Rob Bain- Men’s Brand /Marketing Manager – O’Neill South Pacific
Reaction: “I think it will be positive. I believe Quiksilver has improved as a brand since Oaktree have taken them over, so I am expecting Billabong will be better for it in the long run. Forecasting: “I am sure there will be efficiencies and cost savings to be gained by merging the two which will benefit both brands. I would think this will include some job cuts. It’s hard to imagine Billabong not being on the Gold Coast so guessing they will keep a significant foot hold there. Core Customer: “Generally speaking the majority of customers aren’t overly loyal to any 1 brand. It all comes down to product and price. If it is the right product at the right price they will buy it regardless of what is happening in the back ground. Opportunity: “Opportunity for other brands to gain market share will only happen if Quiksilver and Billabong drop the ball on product and service levels which I believe will only improve.” Andrew Lyndsey – Coopers Surf Australia
“I see it as really positive. Back under private control will mean there are no longer unrealistic shareholder demands on the brands. They can now look to build on their combined strengths to achieve sustainable growth. Billabong have successfully run a portfolio of brands for some time now and I simply see this as an addition to the lineup.” Victor Tilley – Red Herring