The takeover deal is for £465 million and the expansion of the luxury jewellery market in Asia has fuelled a desire for jewellery companies to expand portfolios and supply the ever-growing demand.
Swatch Group, the biggest watchmaker in terms of sales, is looking to take on high-end jewellery market leader Richemont and its flagship brand Cartier.
“Harry Winston does brilliantly complement the prestige segment of the group,” said chairwoman Nayla Hayek. “We are proud and happy to welcome Harry Winston to the Swatch Group family – diamonds are still a girl’s best friend.”
Analysts have also commented that, although not cheap, the deal reflects a positive strategic move as there is potential for a joint diamond polishing venture. Harry Winston also owns a 40 per cent stake in the Diavik diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories, with Rio Tinto holding the remaining 60 per cent.
Harry Winston started as a small retailer in 1924 but shot to prominence when mentioned in Marilyn Monroe’s song, Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
The acquisition amounts to £465 million plus the assumption of up to £155 million of pro-forma net debt.
Image: Swatch Moby model watch.