San Diego Business Journal

Nixon Inc., an Encinitas-based manufacturer of watches aimed at the surf and skate crowd, was acquired by Billabong International Ltd., the Australian surf gear firm, for at least $73 million.

The announced purchase price included an initial payment of $54.6 million plus a conditional amount based on the company's future performance , at least $18.2 million. The sale, announced Dec. 21, requires approval of Nixon's shareholders and regulatory review, and should close about the end of January, according to a press statement.

Founded in 1997 by Andy Laats and Chad DiNenna, Nixon distributes watches and accessories in about 30 countries. The company is privately held. Reuters reported the founders have an effective 50 percent stake in the company.

The founders said the timing was right to seek a partnership that would help their company grow and prosper.

"The Billabong group has a lot to offer. The character of their leadership, our shared vision of Nixon's future and their expertise in the specialty markets make them the perfect choice," said Laats.

, Mike Allen