Chairman Don McCarthy to step down, CEO Justin Stead to stay.

Watch and jewellery retail chain Aurum has sold its business to US private equity firm Apollo Global Management.

The sale of the business, which includes fascias Watches of Switzerland, Goldsmiths and Mappin & Webb, is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2013.


Apollo said that it plans to work with current Aurum chief executive Justin Stead, but chairman Don McCarthy is set to step down.

Future plans for Aurum include driving “growth through enhancement of its leading market position in luxury watches and further development of its jewellery offering”, according to Apollo head of international private equity Sanjay Patel.

There was no figure mentioned in the official release but previous estimates have suggested that the deal could be worth £180 million

Stead said: “We are pleased to have outperformed our own very high standards and that of our shareholder over the past three years despite a very challenging economic environment. Aurum’s success is testament to the strength of our brands, the execution of a defined vision and strategy, committed world class partnerships and the dedication of the entire Aurum team.

“In addition, Don McCarthy’s outstanding leadership and the incredible support from our major shareholder Landsbanki fostered a productive boardroom environment, which has enabled management to perform to the best of their abilities along with the entire Aurum team. We are incredibly enthusiastic about Apollo’s acquisition of Aurum and we believe their retail industry expertise and broad resources and capabilities across the leisure and commodities sectors will foster our continued growth and success”.

McCarthy gave a similarly glowing review of the Apollo acquisition describing it as providing the retail group with “an outstanding platform for the company’s anticipated future growth and the development of compelling opportunities that exist within the business currently.”

He added: “Throughout the last three years Aurum has outperformed the market and this is a credit to Justin Stead, chief executive, and the Aurum management team who have executed a robust and focused strategic plan.

“It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to be part of the business and I would like to thank Landsbanki, Aurum’s existing shareholder, for their support, Justin, and the entire Aurum team for their professionalism and dedication steering Aurum through a significant period of growth, and I am confident the business will continue to grow in the future with Apollo’s support.”