Swatch Group buys Harry Winston jewellery arm

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Swiss Group acquires 100% stake and takes on 535 staff.

Swatch Group has bought the jewellery and watch division of Harry Winston, following months of sale speculation.

The Swiss company has acquired 100% of the shares in HW Holdings, the company that owns the Harry Winston brand.
Swatch Group now owns the watch and jewellery brands and all activities related to these Harry Winston products. The group has taken on the 535 employees who work for Harry Winston’s watch and jewellery division.

The acquisition was made for US$750 million, plus the assumption of up to US$250 million of pro forma net debt. The sale does not include any of Harry Winston’s mining activities.

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Swatch Group chairwoman Nayla Hayek said: “Harry Winston does brilliantly complement the prestige segment of the group. We are proud and happy to welcome Harry Winston to the Swatch Group family – diamonds are still a girl’s best friend.”

The announcement follows months of speculation after rumours hit the market that Harry Winston was looking to offload its watch and jewellery division so that it could better focus on its mining business. While the company had admitted that it had received interest in the divisions it maintained that a sale was a long-temr plan with Harry Winston chief executive Robert Gannicott recently being quoted as saying such as deal was at least a year away.

Speaking of the deal with Swatch Group, Gannicott said: “The Harry Winston brand now has a new home that can provide the skills and support that it deserves to realise its true potential.”

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