Surf's Down: Billabong Is Now Worth $0

Longtime Australia company has its worst year ever

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 27, 2013 12:46 PM CDT

(Newser) – Bust out the "wipeout" surfing analogies for Billabong: The Aussie surfwear brand had been valued at $3.5 billion as recently as 2007. Today? It is literally worthless. The 40-year-old company reported a net loss of $772 million for the fiscal year and wrote down the value of the Billabong label to zero, reports the BBC. The company's been teetering under huge debt following an oh-so-optimistic attempt at international expansion—as seen by the closing of 158 stores worldwide.

“It probably isn’t cool any more for the youth of today to wear Billabong,” an analyst in Sydney tells Bloomberg. “You can see how much the core business has deteriorated over the last few years. There’s still a massive challenge to get the business going right.” The company is considering deals from private equity groups, but in terms of financial worth, it's now pretty much back to its humble roots—the kitchen of its surfer-founder, Gordon Merchant, notes the Age.

In this photo provided by the Association of Surfing Professionals, C.J. Hobgood wipes out during his quarterfinal run at the Billabong Pro surfing event last year in Teahupoo, Tahiti.
In this photo provided by the Association of Surfing Professionals, C.J. Hobgood wipes out during his quarterfinal run at the Billabong Pro surfing event last year in Teahupoo, Tahiti.   (AP Photo/Association of Surfing Professionals, Kirstin Scholtz)
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Billabong knows the feeling.   (YouTube)

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