The Swatch $1 billion purchase of Harry Winston Diamond was announced today. The Switzerland-based Swatch Group will be paying $750 million in cash and assume as much as $250 million in debt. The $1 billion purchase of Harry Winston allows Swatch to break into the high end luxury jewelry market.
When Marilyn Monroe said that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” she was referring to Harry Winston Diamond. Elizabeth Taylor and other Hollywood celebrities walking the red carpet will often be spotted sporting luxury jewelry from Harry Winston.
Swatch is the biggest purchaser of polished diamonds in the world and they faced a gap in their portfolio after the collaboration with Tiffany fell apart. Swatch chief executive Nick Hayek told Reuters in an interview that the Harry Winston brand has the potential to generate more than one billion Swiss francs, or $1.1 billion US dollars, in sales and 250 million net profit in about four to five years.
Rene Weber, an analyst at Bank Vontobel in Zurich, told Bloomberg why Swatch made the acquisition of Harry Winston:
“Swatch was always missing a jewelry-watch brand and Harry Winston definitely fits into that category. After the Tiffany disaster, they now have another brand to expand.”
Charles Stanley analyst Kieron Hodgson explained to Reuters why the Swatch $1 billion purchase makes business sense for Harry Winston as well:
“With Harry Winston, the focus was going to be moving back to mining, so getting a good price (for the luxury arm) was key to that. This price facilitates the acquisition of EKATI, but also creates something of a war chest for future acquisitions.”
Harry Winston Diamond will now be known as Dominion Diamond Corporation and refocus its efforts on diamond mining operations. What do you think about the Swatch $1 billion purchase?