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Billabong shares soar on takeover reports


Shares in surfwear retailer Billabong have soared on reports a former director has made a $527 million offer for the struggling company.

Billabong moved to halt trading in its shares, but only after the stock had soared seven per cent on media reports that former director Paul Naude had offered $1.10 a share.

The stock was 4.5 cents, or 4.8 per cent, higher at 98 cents when the trading halt began at 1211 AEDT on Monday.

The shares hit an intra-day high of $1.015.

The Australian Financial Review's website reported that Mr Naude has offered $1.10 per share for the embattled company.

Mr Naude was Billabong's president in the Americas and a member of the company's board until he entered takeover talks in November.

In a statement, Billabong requested a trading halt for its share pending the release of an announcement about a possible change of control at the company.

The trading halt will remain in place for two days, or until Billabong requests it be lifted.

An offer $1.10 per share from Mr Naude would value the company at $527 million.

Billabong has already had three takeover offers during 2012.

Private equity firm TPG made its first unsuccessful $850 million bid for Billabong in February and returned with a lower offer of $694.5 million, or $1.45 a share, in July.

Billabong said that the second TPG offer undervalued the company, and three months later the private equity firm withdrew the bid during the due diligence phase.

A second private equity firm, believed to be Bain Capital, in September matched the $694.5 million offer but withdrew only weeks later during the due diligence process.

The surfwear retailer posted a $275.6 million loss for the year to June 30, a big turnaround from the $119.1 million net profit Billabong made in 2010/11.