Billabong expected to buy RVCA

COSTA MESA — In a deal announced Monday the Australian surfwear manufacturer, Billabong International, likely will acquire RVCA, a Costa Mesa action sports apparel company.

RVCA (pronounced roo-kah) is a popular music, arts, surfing and skateboarding-influenced clothing brand. Its founder, Pat Tenore, started it from a Costa Mesa garage in 2001. Today about 60 employees work at the RVCA offices in the industrial area near Monrovia Avenue.

A company statement said that RVCA intends to maintain its creative independence from Billabong, and to remain a "lifestyle brand that [has] integrated different subcultures..."

"RVCA will be able to take this concept even further and provide a more extensive support base for the artists, athletes and advocates we work with," Tenore said in a statement.

While the sales price was undisclosed, some analysts estimate it to be about $26 million, according to the Orange County Business Journal.

Billabong is the second-largest action sports apparel company, second to Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver. Its supply chain, distribution and financing capabilities may help RVCA break into the top tier of apparel companies, along the lines of Volcom, Hurley and O'Neill.

In recent years Billabong has acquired a number of California brands, including Von Zipper sunglasses, Nixon watches and Becker Surf retail stores. Billabong's U.S. offices are in Irvine and its international headquarters are in Australia.

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