Kering has bought previously independent haute horology brand Ulysse Nardin in a deal to be sealed in the coming months.
The ‘highly profitable’ company behind the Freak watch is described by luxury conglomerate Kering as having ‘solid prospects for growth’.
It is thought that Ulysse Nardin’s manufacturing capacity for critical watchmaking components, particularly regulating systems, was another reason Kering favoured buying the company, giving it the capacity to produce sought after parts.
Mrs Chai Schnyder, chairman of Ulysse Nardin’s Board of Directors, commented: “Joining Kering is an opportunity for Ulysse Nardin. It will allow the brand to carry on with its international expansion and continue to innovate, while assuring the long-term future of its knowledge and expertise and the retention of its identity. I am delighted that Ulysse Nardin has found the best partner in Kering.”
An agreement has been reached for Kering to acquire 100% of the capital of Ulysse Nardin with the brand, joining Kering’s Luxury – Watches and Jewellery division headed by Albert Bensoussan, which is already home to Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard watch brands.
Kering also manages the entire Gucci brand, and its watches, as a separate entity.
The deal will be reviewed by competition authorities and should then be finalised during the second half of 2014.
François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chairman and chief executive officer, said: “Ulysse Nardin benefits from a rich heritage, high profitability and solid growth prospects. Independent high-end watchmaking manufactures are rare. This is an opportunity that we had to seize, particularly because this structural acquisition will enable us to take advantage of numerous synergies with our existing brands. We have great ambitions for this company and we will help it continue its international expansion whilst staying faithful to its roots and its identity. In this regard, I am pleased that Mrs Schnyder accepted to remain a member of its board of directors. I have long admired Ulysse Nardin and I am delighted that this brand is joining our ‘Luxury – Watches and Jewellery’ division.”