An artist's depiction of the men in suits currently residing beneath Rory's bed. Photo New York Times
Quik And Bong Are Now Owned By A New Global Mega-Firm
Boardriders Inc's owner purchased by Brookfield Asset Management
The monkey's paw that is 'non-endemic money in surfing' took an interesting turn this past March, with the acquisition of 62% of Oaktree Capital Management by Brookfield Asset Management for approximately $4.7 billion in cash and stocks.
Oaktree, for those who haven't been paying attention, is a management firm that places an emphasis on distressed debt and which snapped up Quiksilver, Billabong, and their many subsidiaries prior to consolidating them under the banner of Boardriders Inc in 2018.
Taken together the newly combined companies will manage a total of $475 billion in assets, worldwide, challenging the Blackstone Group as the large alternative investment firm in the world. (For those of us who need to look up the term “alternative investment firm”- it means something that “invests in asset classes other than stock, bonds, and cash.” Bankrupt business, real estate, art, wine, etc.)
The companies plan to retain their current management teams while continuing to operate independently. Under the terms of the deal Brookfield will own one hundred percent of Oaktree by 2029.
According to the Los Angeles Times:
Brookfield, founded 120 years ago, is Canada’s largest alternative investment firm and owns companies ranging from real estate to infrastructure and renewable power. Holdings include Manhattan West, the new complex at New York’s Hudson Yards, and Brookfield Place near Wall Street.
In the past year the firm acquired mall owner GGP Inc. for $13 billion, Forest City Realty Trust for $6.7 billion and a power-solutions business from Johnson Controls for $13.2 billion.
Shares of Brookfield have been a stellar performer for decades, posting a 21% annual return since 2009, double the gain of the S&P/TSX Composite Index, Canada’s main equity gauge.
It is unclear what, if anything, the merger will mean for the surf world. By global standards the surf industry is small potatoes. Whether Boardriders will now have access to new resources, or will be treated like an unwanted stepchild, remains to be seen.
It is very possible that nothing much will change. Though fearful Chicken Little types, such as this writer, may begin to feel that the monster under their bed, rather than featuring teeth and claws, now takes the form of a doughy man in suit and tie. He holds a pile of contracts and mutters, “It's just business,” until the words lose all meaning. The rapacious hunger of our respective night terrors will remain unchanged.