Family-owned Breitling, one of the last remaining truly independent watch concerns, has sold to CVC Capital Partners, the Luxembourg-based private equity firm for an amount believed to be US$870 million ($1.1 billion).
CVC will acquire an 80 per cent stake in the watchmaker with owner Theodore Schneider “re-investing” and retaining 20 per cent of the company which began in 1884.
Breitling operates two manufacturing facilities, in Grenchen and La Chaux-de-Fonds and is famed for its pilot watches.
Schneider is quoted in European media at the weekend saying, “I am convinced CVC is the right partner to elevate Breitling to the next level. CVC’s expertise, track-record and international network will help unlock Breitling’s full potential.”
Other reports suggest China is seen as a market of great potential to the brand, one whose mostly larger-sized watches have not been a natural choice there to this point.
Breitling reported sales of some $US420 million last year, but has been rumoured to be up for sale for some time. It is one of the few brands not belonging to the four luxury conglomerates: Richemont, the Swatch Group, LVMH and to a lesser extent Kering.
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