French press reports Rossignol may be for sale

French company Skis Rossignol (SKIR.PA) saw its stock jump 12.66 percent in the first trading session of the New Year following an interview published Monday in the Les Echos newspaper with Bernard Mariette, the president of U.S.-based Quiksilver. Mariette confirmed in the interview that Quiksilver, a manufacturer of surf-inspired activewear, had approached Rossignol with the idea of a takeover.
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French company Skis Rossignol (SKIR.PA) saw its stock jump 12.66 percent in the first trading session of the New Year following an interview published Monday in the Les Echos newspaper with Bernard Mariette, the president of U.S.-based Quiksilver. Mariette confirmed in the interview that Quiksilver, a manufacturer of surf-inspired activewear, had approached Rossignol with the idea of a takeover.

Rossignol has been the subject of takeover speculation since November when it reported its full-year profit outlook would be much lower than anticipated due to the weakness of the dollar. Analysts have placed the stock value at around 19 euro, which if true, would place the overall company valuation at around 235 euro or just over USD $320 million -- a bit on the high side other analysts told SNEWS®.

Talks regarding acquisition have been primarily focused around the main shareholder, the founding family Boix-Vives, which controls 45 percent of the capital and 63 percent of the voting rights.

Laurent Boix Vives, Rossignol supervisory board chairman, was quoted in the Les Echos story as saying that the company has not yet responded to a letter of intent from Quiksilver.

SNEWS® View: Skis Rossignol, which also manufactures golf (via a subsidiary with reportedly strong growth potential), inline skate (struggling) and tennis equipment (weak), in addition to its snowsports lines, might be attracting interest from other companies as well, though certainly none as public as the Quiksilver offer. On the short list from analysts are Nike, which makes some sense from a distribution standpoint, but there's little for Nike to gain other than the snowsports angle, and K2. K2 would be our most logical pick since the company has synergies that mesh nicely with Rossignol, and the acquisition would not only make K2 a global ski player on a monumental scale, it would also further open Europe, and Richard Heckman has made no secret of the fact he wants to see business expansion in Europe.

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