Fanning retires and so, maybe, do Rip Curl founders!
Are you one of the 2,800 Facebook fans currently watching the Rip Curl Pro live from Bells Beach?
If so, the rumour that Rip Curl has just sold to an as-yet-unnamed Sydney family might be of at least vague interest. Rip Curl, if it needs to be said, is the wetsuit and clothing company created in 1969 by the shaper Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick, science teacher Brian Singer and another pal Alan Green, who would leave a year later to start Quiksilver thereby giving Brian and Claw an equal split of the biz.
Earlier this century, Rip Curl would flirt with turning the company public, hiring various, what do yo wanna call ‘em “experts”, but flinched as it watched the catastrophic trajectories of Billabong and Quiksilver. It ain’t no secret that Brian and Claw were open to sell privately for a number just shy shy of half-a-billion dollars.
Six years ago, Rip Curl hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch to look into a sale of the biz, either a piece or all of it. Nobody bit at that price, a bullish ten times earnings.
And last year, as reported by the Australian Financial Review, the pair of rich-listers “appointed local independent adviser Gresham and US-based boutique RW Baird to run a sale process…While Rip Curl has fared much better than its larger rivals by sticking to its surfing roots, ASIC accounts show Rip Curl has not been completely immune to the choppy conditions that contributed to the near demise of Billabong and Quiksilver.
“Rip Curl’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell 30 per cent to $35.5 million in 2016, the last year for which accounts are available, despite a 7 per cent rise in sales to $476.5 million. This followed flat earnings in 2015 and a 35 per cent increase in EBITDA in 2014… Nevertheless, Rip Curl is doing better than Billabong, which earned $51 million from continuing operations in 2017 on sales of $1 billion.”
But yesterday… yesterday… according to a BeachGrit source, one of the founders offhandedly mentioned to a member of the public that Rip Curl had just been sold “to a Sydney family.”
As of 2013, Brian and Claw, both well into their seventies, still retained seventy-two percent of the biz, which they leave in great shape. Lean, profitable and with a fine roster of surfers.
More as it comes.