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Harry Winston to Sell Luxury Brand to Swatch for $1B

Jan 14, 2013 1:59 AM   By Dilipp S Nag
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RAPAPORT... Harry Winston Diamond Corp. has agreed to sell its diamond jewelry and timepiece division to ‎The Swatch Group for $1 billion.  Harry Winston will generate $750 million in cash from the sale, while Swatch will assume the ‎repayment of $250 million (in pro forma net) debt for Harry Winston.‎

‎“This transaction represents a sound return on our original investment,” said Robert Gannicott, the chairman and CEO of Harry Winston. “It will leave us well equipped to realize upstream ‎opportunities in an environment where cash has become a strategic resource while preserving ‎and expanding our relationship with the downstream diamond business.”‎

Harry Winston supplies rough diamonds to the global market from its 40 percent stake in ‎Canada’s Diavik diamond mine and in November agreed to buy the Ekati diamond mine from BHP ‎Billiton for $500 million. The company also sources polished ‎diamonds from other companies.‎

When the transaction closes, Harry Winston will change its name to Dominion ‎Diamond Corp.

Harry Winston stated that it would maintain a polished diamond sourcing relationship with Swatch Group  and that the two companies would also explore opportunities for a joint diamond-polishing venture.‎

‎"Harry Winston brilliantly complements the prestige segment of the group,” said Swatch Group's chair, Nayla Hayek. “We are proud and happy to welcome Harry Winston to the ‎Swatch Group family.” ‎

Harry Winston runs its luxury retail division from New York under the name Harry Winston Inc. The company currently operates 21 boutiques and four licensed ‎showrooms in key locations in New York, Paris, London, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, ‎Singapore, Tokyo and Beverly Hills, among others. The company has more than 190 points of ‎distribution for its exclusive line of timepieces, according to its website.‎
Tags: diamond, Dilipp S Nag, Dominion Diamond, Harry Winston, Jewelry, luxury, Rapaport, Robert Gannicott, swatch group
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