The Swiss-based Swatch Group has acquired US-based HW Holdings, the owner of the Harry Winston jewellery and watch brand, for US$1 billion.
Under the deal, Swatch has acquired the brand, including 535 employees worldwide and its production company in Geneva, for US$750 million plus “US$250 million pro forma net debt”.
The transaction does not however include the mining activities of the Harry Winston Diamond Corporation which owns 40 percent of the Diavik mine in Canada and which will now change its name to Dominion Diamond Corp.
In an official statement announcing the acquisition, Swatch Group chairwoman Nayla Hayek said Harry Winston would “brilliantly complement the prestige segment of the Group” while Harry Winston chairman and CEO Robert Gannicott said the brand now had “a new home that can provide the skills and support that it deserves to realise its true potential”.
“We are proud and happy to welcome Harry Winston to the Swatch Group family – diamonds are still a girl’s best friend,” said Hayek
Swatch Group is the world’s number one maker of finished watches with 19 brands in its portfolio including Breguet, Blancpain, Certina, Omega, Longines, Rado, Swatch, Tissot and Tourbillon.
Harry Winston is “the inventor of modern couture jewelry” with 21 retail outlets around the world as well as a wholesale line of watches. The company is also renowned for donating the world’s most famous gemstone, the Hope Diamond, to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC in 1958.
* Pictured above is the ‘Rose Tattoo’ brooch by Harry Winston featuring 312 rubies,11 emeralds and 119 diamonds set in 18 carat yellow gold and platinum