LVMH rumoured to be eyeing Aurum

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Reports put luxury group in frame to buy UK jewellery retail biz.

LVMH could be considering a bid for jewellery and watch retail group, according to a report in The Sunday Times.

Aurum, which operates Goldsmiths, Mappin & Webb and Watches of Switzerland, went up for sale in April following a record year’s trading.

Initial valuations of the company put it at £200 million and there has been considerable speculation about the potential new owner of the business.

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In an interview with Professional Jeweller in September, chief executive Justin Stead said that Aurum planned to take its time in picking a new owner as that owner would have to agree to the business strategies already put in place by the retail group.

He added: “We have had tremendous interest in the business from both international and UK trade and private equity. We are working through the interest and getting close to the groups and making an appropriate decision. We are not in any rush. We want to pick the absolutely perfect partner and get maximum value for our shareholders, who have been fantastic.”

In its latest full-year results, to January 30, Aurum posted sales up 13% to £280.6 million, an increase of 16.6% on a like-for-like basis. EBITDA was up 53% to £16.1m, and operative profit increased by 85% to £12 million.

It had previously been suggested by Cavendish Finance, the group employed to handle the sale of Aurum, that the business would be snapped up by a private equity company by summer but this failed to materialise. 

Aurum declined to comment on the rumours. 

To read a Professional Jeweller interview with Aurum chief executive Justin Stead on turning the business around, future strategies and sale speculation, click here

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