PARIS — CVC Capital Partners has agreed to acquire an 80 percent stake in family-owned Breitling, one of the last remaining independent Swiss watchmakers, ending months of rumors that the firm was ripe for takeover.
Financial terms of the deal, realized through CVC’s Fund VI, were not disclosed.
As part of the transaction, Breitling owner Théodore Schneider will reinvest for a 20 percent shareholding, CVC stated.
“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,” said 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 deal is subject to approval by relevant competition authorities, and is expected in June.
“We believe that this is marginally good for Kering as it reduces the risk of more M&A in hard luxury, where results have been disappointing,” wrote Exane BNP Paribas sector head of luxury goods Luca Solca in a note.
He estimated that the deal valued the business at more than 800 million, or $871.5 million at current exchange, and that the multiple paid was around two times the company’s sales.
Breitling was founded in 1884 and is based in Grenchen, Switzerland. The company employs 900 people and operates two domestic manufacturing facilities.