The owner of Aurum Holdings, Britain’s biggest watch and jewellery group, has been meeting with investment bankers as it looks again at a public listing, according to a report by Sky News city editor Mark Kleinman.
The group, which is owned by New York-based Apollo Global Management, has made no secret of its plans to find a buyer or go public in recent years. The latest rumour is that it is looking at an IPO in either London or Zurich next year.
Aurum Holdings declined to comment.
Industry insiders thought that a sale was imminent at the end of last year following a dramatic increase in sales in the UK. Overseas customers flocked to the country to buy watches in a currency battered after the Brexit vote in 2016.
The group was also made much more attractive to investors after buying Mayors, a chain of luxury jewelers in Florida last year. It is also building flagship Watches of Switzerland stores in New York and has taken over the management of America’s largest Rolex store in Las Vegas.
The most recent accounts published in the UK show Aurum Holdings sales rose 24.4% to £566 million in 2016-17, and operating profit rose by 174.2% to £17.2 million.
The accounting period pre-dates the acquisition of Mayors in the United States, which the group bought for $105 million in October 2017.
It has around 150 physical stores in the UK and over 1700 employees.
Buying Mayor’s gave Aurum Holdings a significant platform for growth in the United States. Along with a chain of 17 prestige jewellers in Florida and Georgia, most of which have Rolex, Mayor’s also acquired a headquarters and modern logistics hub.
Adding Mayor’s to Aurum Holdings’ UK operations turns it into an international business with turnover this year of around $1 billion, according to its CEO Brian Duffy.