The two firms are well-established in the worlds of skiing, surfing and skateboarding

New York (AFP) - US company Boardriders, which owns the Quicksilver brand, has signed an agreement to acquire Australian rival Billabong, merging two major names in sportswear, the firms announced.

“The combination of Boardriders and Billabong will create the world’s leading action sports company,” Boardriders said in a statement.

The two companies, which are well-established in the worlds of skiing, surfing and skateboarding, will together have 630 retail stores in 28 countries and over 7,000 retail customers in 110 countries, Boardriders said.

Boardriders is controlled by the Oaktree Capital investment firm, which already owns 19 percent of Billabong.

Under the deal it will buy the remaining shares of Billabong at one Australian dollar per share, a premium of 28 percent over the stock price on November 30 when the buyout bid was unveiled.

Billabong’s board members unanimously recommended the deal to shareholders and the firm’s shares were 2.60 percent higher at 98.5 Australian cents (77 US cents) in afternoon trade in Sydney.

“Billabong’s brands’ great strength is their authenticity and heritage,” its chief executive Neil Fiske said in Sydney.

“I’m confident those qualities will not simply be protected but enhanced by a new organisation that will have the scale and financial security to continue to support and build them as we enter into a new and dynamic retail environment.”