One of the most persistent rumors in the watch world has finally proven true: CVC Capital Partners, a Luxembourg-based private equity firm, announced today that it has agreed to acquire a majority stake in family-owned Swiss watch company Breitling, putting to rest several years of speculation as to whether the brand would remain independent or be acquired by a larger concern. Details on the transaction can be found below in CVC Capital Partners’ official press release; analysis of its impact on the watch industry will be forthcoming in WatchTime magazine and on WatchTime.com.
CVC CAPITAL PARTNERS FUND VI AGREES TO ACQUIRE MAJORITY STAKE IN BREITLING SA
CVC Capital Partners (“CVC”) today announced that CVC Fund VI has agreed to acquire an 80% stake in Breitling SA (“Breitling”), a leading independent, family-owned manufacturer of Swiss luxury watches and an internationally renowned premium brand. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
As part of the transaction, Théodore Schneider will re-invest for a 20% shareholding in Breitling.
Founded in 1884, Breitling specialises in the development and manufacture of high-performance watches. The company looks back on a heritage of seminal innovations that have played a decisive role in the development of wrist chronographs. Breitling employs approximately 900 people and is headquartered in Grenchen, Switzerland. The company operates two manufacturing facilities, one in Grenchen and one in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Breitling watches are sold worldwide in exclusive boutiques and via selected retailers.
“I am convinced CVC is the right partner to elevate Breitling to the next level,” said Théodore Schneider, majority owner of Breitling SA. “CVC’s expertise, track-record and international network will help unlock Breitling’s full potential.”
Alexander Dibelius, Managing Partner and Head of Germany at CVC, commented: “Breitling has a proud heritage, high brand awareness, and enjoys an excellent reputation as one of the finest watchmakers in the world. We very much look forward to working with Théodore Schneider as we embark on Breitling’s next chapter of growth.”
“Using our network and expertise, CVC will work to make this global, iconic brand even more renowned and help shape the future of one of Switzerland’s last independent watch manufacturers,” added Daniel Pindur, Senior Managing Director at CVC. “Specifically, we see significant growth potential for Breitling in both existing and new geographies by driving the digitization of the marketing and distribution channels in the company, helping to enrich the product and customer experience.”
Closing of the transaction is subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities and is expected for June 2017.
A company taken over by P.E. has received the kiss of death. Adieu Breitling SA.