Decked in luminous tinsel, the market stalls on Madrid's old Plaza Mayor sparkle with festive glee -- but in Spain's fifth Christmas of crisis, even Santa is tightening his belt.
Citizens are being tested this Christmas by rises in sales tax and the slashing of end-of-year bonuses which are cramping spending on traditional treats.
Struggling Australian surf and sportswear company Billabong on Wednesday said it was considering a takeover offer from a former executive valued at $555.2 million.
A consortium led by Paul Naude, who last month stepped aside as director and president of Billabong's US business, is offering Aus$1.10 ($1.16) per share.
The confirmation that a bid had been made, conditional on due diligence, came as Billabong downgraded its full-year earnings guidance.
"The board supports the transformation strategy (of the company), which has already delivered some early improvements in operations and in managing costs," chairman Ian Pollard said in a statement to the Australian stock exchange.
"However, it will continue to assess the current indicative, non-binding and conditional proposal as well as other matters that may be outside of its control as it seeks to restore the fortunes of the company."
Despite the takeover offer, investors dumped the company's shares on the earnings downgrade, with the stock ending 13 percent lower at 85 cents.
In its earnings guidance, Billabong said weak trading conditions in its Americas division and weaker-than-expected sales in Europe meant it had revised forecasts for the year to June 30, 2013.
It now anticipates earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of Aus$56 million-Aus$63 million, down from its previous expectations of Aus$100 million-Aus$110 million.
The takeover offer is the latest this year. Private equity firm TPG offered Aus$1.45 but withdrew the offer in October.
Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by defeated US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, also pulled out of a bid during the due diligence phase.
In February, Billabong's largest shareholder and founder Gordon Merchant and fellow investor Colette Paul rejected a separate takeover bid from TPG at Aus$3.30 a share.
"It's very sad really, but right now in Spain it is almost easier to win the lottery than to find a job."