In business news, Bremont announced that billionaire investor and apparent watch-lover Bill Ackman is buying a minority stake in the British brand, valuing it at just around ~$125 million. Hedge fund manager and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, Ackman is putting his personal money into the investment which is described as a “substantial minority” and part of a larger ~$60 million investment by Hellcat LP which is Bremont’s controlling shareholder. A keen eyed capitalist in addition to a Bremont collector, Ackman believes Britain’s largest luxury watch manufacturer has the potential to be a multi-billion dollar brand.
In something almost out of a movie, Ackman wrote a note to brand founders Nick and Giles English saying “I admire your company, I love watches and I would love to learn more” after purchasing a Bremont watch in a quote given to the Financial Times. This investment comes on the heels of a record sales year for Bremont that saw a 28% increase in revenue. Of course, it also comes on the heels of a serious investment period in which the brand opened their new 35,000 square foot manufacture dubbed The Wing at their Henley-on-Thames headquarters.
Ackman went on to say “The UK’s rich horological past laid the foundation for Nick and Giles to found and grow Bremont into one of the watch industry’s preeminent brands and engineering companies. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to become a shareholder of Bremont at a fulcrum point in the Company’s evolution, and to see it take its rightful position as a global leader in watchmaking.”
Just as important as his effusive praise for the brand, the hedge fund manager (personally worth just shy of $3 billion) said that Bremont could be scaled to the size of a brand like Breitling which was just valued at $4.5 billion amidst busy chatter about a potential IPO (read that story on WatchTime, here).
This all makes for exciting times at Bremont which just turned 20 years old and seems set to stick around for many years to come. What comes next is the search for a new CEO as the brand also announced that Managing Director Chris Reynolds will be taking the Chief Operating Officer position. I will be closely following who the brand eventually taps as chief executive to lead the company in its next chapter.