• Billabong: Still sparring with TPG.
    Billabong: Still sparring with TPG.

Fashion chain Country Road has sealed its acquisition of local retailer Witchery Group, while Billabong continues to court its sale suitor, TPG International.

The Country Road/Witchery deal, which was completed earlier this week, saw Country Road take over the Witchery Group, including its Witchery and Mimco labels, from Gresham Private Equity.

The acquisition, initially announced in August, is worth $172 million, and is set to trigger a number of executive changes within the two companies.

Effective immediately, Witchery Group CEO Iain Nairn will take up the role as chief executive officer of Country Road, replacing Howard Goldberg, who is leaving the company, while Country Road chief financial officer David Thomas will take on the role of chief operating officer.

In addition, Witchery Group chief financial officer Oliver Kysela will now serve as chief financial officer of Country Road.

The news coincides with another announcement from Billabong concerning its possible sale to US private equity firm TPG International, which made an initial offer for the company earlier this year.

Following the loss of a second private equity firm interested in acquiring the company, the industry rumour mill has gone into overdrive with suggestions that TPG is also on the verge of retracting its $700 million offer for the company.

In its defence, Billabong has now confirmed to the market that TPG has not withdrawn from the sale process.

However, the company has revealed that as part of its due diligence investigations, TPG and its advisers have "expressed concerns" in relation to some issues, but said discussions in relation to those matters are continuing.

Billabong also again stressed that, in relation to the sale process, there is no guarantee that any transaction will eventuate or that the board will recommend any proposal.

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