Swatch and Bulgari quash sale rumours

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Both companies deny an approach by Swatch to buy Bulgari.

Swatch Group and Bulgari have quashed rumours that the Swiss watch group has plans to the buy Italian luxury goods and jewellery company.

Rumours arose of a possible approach after Swatch Group chief executive Nick Hayek said in an interview with German magazine Front that he considered Bulgari as a potential brand that could be developed.

Bulgari released a statement denying the rumours and stating that the Bulgari family, which has a 51 percent stake in the business, is not interested in selling the company. The statement said: “There are very good business relationships between Swatch and Bulgari based on a supplier-customer collaboration. The two companies have never discussed any kind of transactions on shares. The Bulgari family is not interested in selling.”

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Hayek also denied the rumours in an interview with news service Reuters. "The Swatch Group has not expressed any desire to acquire Bulgari, and Bulgari has not expressed either the desire to be bought by Swatch Group. There are no negotiations in front of, or behind the curtains," he said. "Every time an interesting and big company has difficulties, one thinks of us. I think there are brands that need the Swatch Group more than the Swatch Group needs them.”

Bulgari’s share price rose as the interview with Hayek in Front magazine was released, and analysts have said that while it would put the watch company in debt by an estimated €1 billion (£893.6 million) it would make sense for Swatch to buy Bulgari to increase its jewellery market share.

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