Australian clothing firm Billabong International Limited is to buy US youth apparel brand RVCA for an undisclosed sum.

RVCA, which is based in California, is described as "one of southern California's most exciting emerging brands," by Billabong CEO Derek O'Neill.

"RVCA is not defined by any single sport or culture. It represents a community of culturally aware youth and is inspired by a diverse range of interests, each of which is underpinned by an original, highly creative design element."

"It is a brand that has developed a very strong presence in the United States, particularly in southern California on the strength of its fashion-forward ranges in categories including art-driven t-shirts, denim, wovens, boardshorts and, more recently, its girls' line."

The bulk of RVCA's revenue is currently generated in the US, while its expansion into other key markets including Australia and Europe is in its infancy.

Brand founder Pat Tenore said he and his existing management team will continue to drive the development and growth of the brand.

"By joining with Billabong we can retain our focus on our creative strengths, while leveraging the distribution and supply chain infrastructure and support of the Billabong group."

Today's deal follows recent acquisitions by Billabong International that include US-based online boardsports retailer swell.com and a stake in Australia's leading online boardsports retailer Surfstitch.

However, the surfwear firm today (12 July) said its plans to buy Canadian retailer West 49 Inc have been threatened by a higher offer from US sporting goods chain Zumiez.