Billabong Buys Swell.com

Billabong International has acquired online boardsports catalog and online retailer Swell.com. Terms of the deal, announced Nov. 23, were not disclosed.

Founded in 1999, Swell.com sells surf and skate apparel and hard goods brands for men and women including Billabong, Volcom, O’Neill, Hurley, Rusty, Quiksilver, Insight, RVCA, Roxy and Swell, its private label brand.

Billabong is a very acquisitive sporting goods company, says Chris Kampe, managing director with investment firm Tully & Holland. “Most of its deals have been in performance apparel and equipment categories such as surf boards, performance swimwear/wetsuits, and goggles,” Kampe explains.

On the retail side, Billabong acquired Grant Retail in 2008 (a surf shop chain in Florida), Amazon Surf in 2006 (New Zealand surf shops), and Honalau Surf in 2004 (a Hawaii surf shop chain).

Swell.com sells third-party brands and will likely be used as an online platform for Billabong, Lee Helman, managing director with investment firm Financo. “It will be interesting to see whether any of the other third-party brands will continue doing business with Swell now that Billabong will own it,” Helman says.

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