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THE NEWS WRAP: Billabong ignores calls to properly evaluate rival offer

Monday, 26 August 2013 | By Andrew Sadauskas

Troubled surfwear retailer Billabong is ignoring calls by the Australian Shareholders’ Association to delay its deal with Altamont in order to properly evaluate a rival offer from private equity firms Centerbridge and Oaktree.


“It seems to us you can't proceed and lock up one proposal that you say will be complete by October (when Billabong has flagged a shareholder vote) and properly evaluate another at the same time,” ASA chairman Ian Curry says.


“It feels like Billabong is going to take the position it is too late to proceed with any new offers.”


However, a Billabong spokesperson rejects the ASA’s demand, telling The Australian the company’s priority is to find the fastest path to certainty for employees and shareholders.


“Is it really going to benefit the business and the 6000 people employed globally to go through another six months of due diligence, management discussions and the like? This also has costs,” a Billabong spokesperson says.


Murray Goulburn calls for improved access to finance for agriculture


Murray Goulburn Co-operative general manager of shareholder relations Robert Poole has called on the banks to forge alliances with overseas investors in order to finance the agricultural sector.


The call comes as the co-op, which trades under the Devondale brand, launches MG Partnerships.


“A lot of the banks are still funding agriculture like they did in the 1950s and 60s, with 50% equity and mums and dads borrowing money," Poole says.


“That is, I think, going to rapidly change; and I think the banks are going to be involved in that or they are not, because the external capital is inevitably going to come.


“Overseas investors are taking a more positive long-term view of agriculture than what a lot of local banks and superfunds are.”


Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer announces resignation


Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has announced plans to resign within the next 12 months, ending a controversial 13-year reign at the helm of the tech giant.


“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time," Ballmer says in a statement.


"This is an emotional and difficult thing for me to do. I take this step in the best interests of the company I love."


Microsoft’s share price rose 7% following news of the resignation.




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up to 15010.51. The Aussie dollar is up to US90.29 cents.