The Balter Boys Get Paid, B Corps, Boardriders Acquisition + More  - Stab Mag

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The Balter Boys Get Paid, B Corps, Boardriders Acquisition + More 

Plus more industry news: St Archer no more, Red Bull and Oakley thin the aged.

// Mar 7, 2023
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 4 minutes

So far, 5549298 seconds have lapsed since the start of 2023, roughly 25 million remain. 

A lot can happen in a year, and the reason for that is simple – everything changes and everything ends

Let’s discuss the opening 10-ish weeks in surf industry news.

Balter’s $200 million pay day 

The Balter boys have cashed in the second of the (30-40-30 percent) three part installment after selling to Carlton United Breweries for an estimated $200 million in 2019. Balter’s investors include the likes of Bede Durbidge, Josh Kerr, Joel Parkinson and Mick Fanning who have since divvied up the windfall in the largest surfer-owned alcohol sale in history. The five year earn out period will close in 2025, when they can collect the remaining 30% ($60 million).

Prior to Balter’s founding in 2016, Josh Kerr and Taylor Steele were heavily invested in Saint Archer Brewery, an American beer startup that sold for upwards of $USD70 million to MillerCoors in 2015. High off that success, Kerr dropped a chunk of his Saint Archer cash straight back on the Australian brand, Balter – repeating a similar playbook much to the dismay of Saint Archer Founder, Josh Landan. These dual sales made Kerrzy one of the wealthiest professional surfers, making him 2-for-2 on big beer ventures. Interestingly, Saint Archer was discontinued in 2022 with MillerCoors VP citing the brand’s ‘slow growth’ before pulling them from market.

For Bede’s 40th in late February this year and fresh of the leaves landing in his account – the three time CT winner and World Title runner-up (2008) celebrated by hosting a Bliss N Eso blowout on his Gold Coast home – a private rendition of ‘The Sea Is Rising’ will set you back anywhere between $20,000-$30,000 – a timely reminder that Oz Rap is still kicking round the traps of millennials.

Leisure Collective joins Patagonia + Rip Curl with B Corp certification

‘A principle isn’t a principle until it’s cost you something,’ said American advertising icon, Bill Bernbach. In a time of widespread greenwashing with many businesses dressing up questionable environmental practices with meaningless self-mastubatory beach clean-up days, B Corp certification is the corporate version of having a ‘good hard look at yourself’ before going on a twelve-month silent retreat/juice cleanse. 

Credit: The New Yorker

Following in the footsteps of Patagonia and Rip Curl, the Leisure Collective – the parent company of: Creatures of Leisure, OTIS eyewear, Sito and Layday has been granted B Corp status. What does that mean? Harvard Business Review does a great job of breaking down B Corps in detail here. The short of it is: a company needs to show value for non-shareholding stakeholders, such as their employees, the local community, and the environment. Once a firm crosses a certain performance threshold on these dimensions, it makes amendments to its corporate charter to incorporate the interests of all stakeholders into the fiduciary duties of directors and officers. These steps demonstrate that a firm is following a fundamentally different governance philosophy than a traditional shareholder-centered corporation.

A small w for the planet. 

Authentic Brands re-emerge as frontrunners in Boardriders acquisition

Authentic Brands Group is reportedly back in the mix to acquire Boardriders after the exclusivity period for Bluestar Alliance expired without a deal, according to Shop-Eat-Surf. Bluestar Alliance, which owns Hurley, conducted extensive due diligence on Boardriders, including visiting some international territories.

Authentic, which owns Volcom and more than 40 other brands, is one of the world’s leading licensing companies. ‘Industry retailers thus far have been happy with Authentic’s stewardship of Volcom, which has not changed distribution strategies since being acquired by Authentic in 2019,’ again according to SES.

Bloomberg has put the estimated buyout figure at $1.3 billion for the house of Quiksilver, Billabong, Roxy, RVCA, DC, Element and Vonzipper – with whispers of a deal closing within the week.

ABG’s brands include that of Shaq, Ali, Beckham, Volcom + 44 others

Julian Wilson & Mateus Herdy dropped by Red Bull, Kolohe Andino by Oakley

The young crop of female talent coming through is obvious and exciting, and at least from a surf marketing lens, the same cannot be said for young male surfers. Sierra Kerr, Caity Simmers, Molly Picklum, Sky Brown – have all inked deals with Red Bull. The male generation that previously inked deals with energy drink brands – Kolohe Andino, Jordy Smith, Conner Coffin, Julian Wilson et al all signed deals around the same age – at a time when there was major spotlight on them as up-and-coming title threats. 

No business has an infinite budget, every business has to make hard decisions. In this sense choosing between a guy middle aged with kids or a mid-twenty year old with multiple CT wins in the past year is easy. Red Bull ultimately ushered in Jack Robinson and Griffin Colapinto and let go of Julian Wilson and Mateus Herdy. Two in, two out.

Kolohe left Oakley to go to Bong and VZ and then resigned with Oakley when he signed with Nike.

Historically, Oakley and Red Bull have very similar taste in talent – namely youthful, top-tier competitors on the world tour – Italo Ferreira, Griffin Colapinto, Jordy Smith, Sierra Kerr, Caroline Marks, Kanoa Igarashi all currently sport the Oak-Bull sticker combo. Oakley, whose most recent signings include 9 and 11-year old Europeans – let go of Kolohe Andino at the start of the year – who first signed with them not long after his birth.

On Sam Mc’s recent trip to the Rock collecting HSGP season 2 interviews – Brother, just dropped – went out and purchased a pair of Ray Bans. He was elated with his new shades before realizing Ray Bans and Oakley are owned by the same company, Luxottica Group Co. “Fuck, I just gave my cash straight back to them,” he laughed


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