The parent company of the Rotary, Dreyfuss & Co and J&T Windmills watch brands has been bought by the Hong Kong-listed investment company that already owns Corum and Eterna.
China Haidian Holdings Limited acquired 100 percent of the share capital of fourth generation, family owned The Dreyfuss Group from the Dreyfuss family for HK351million (£27million), which has owned the business since its formation in 1895.
China Haidian, which launched in 2005 in the property sector has spent hundreds of millions to establish itself as a major player in the Chinese watch market. The group has a major watch distribution network in China and controls two of the country’s biggest watch brands, Ebohr and Rossini. It also spent big on buying movement manufacturing facilities and precious metal processing plants in China.
China Haidian acquired Swiss watch companies Eterna in 2011 for CHF22,911,001 (£15.6million) which, at the time included the Porsche Design licence, and then Corum last year for CHF86 million (£59.5 million).
The acquisition of the Dreyfuss Group, listed in the 2013 Sunday Times International Fast Track awards of the UK’s 200 fastest growing privately owned companies, gives China Haidian a successful mid-market offering that has undergone its own strategy of international growth in recent years, developing a presence in over 45 countries.
China Haidian will also no doubt have been attracted to Rotary’s four year sponsorship of Chelsea Football Club, a club already popular amongst the legion of football fans in the Far East.
Robert Dreyfuss, executive chairman of The Dreyfuss Group, and his management team will remain with the business to ‘oversee the next stage of growth and to build on the strong results recently achieved’. The Dreyfuss Group’s recent expansion into Asia has seen it develop four hundred retail outlets starting from scratch eighteen months ago.
Dreyfuss said: “This is excellent news for the future of the Dreyfuss Group. The management team is excited at the opportunities to continue to aggressively pursue our plans for further national and international expansion supported by the resources and sizeable distribution network of China Haidian Holdings Limited, which in tandem with the Chelsea FC sponsorship, will elevate Rotary into a global brand leader, whilst preserving and respecting our unique Swiss heritage, our family values and our existing long term customer relationships.
“This transaction marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the group’s long history. Our new owners recognise, respect and share the same family values that have underpinned our success to date and together we will ensure that my great-grandfather’s legacy lives on.”