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Harry Winston To Be Acquired By Swatch Group For $1 Billion

The Swatch Group Ltd. (VTX:UHR), the biggest watchmaker in Switzerland, will pay an estimated $1 billion to acquire Canada’s upscale Harry Winston Diamond Corporation (NYSE:HWD) watch and jewelry brand. This deal, which was made public by officials from both companies on Monday, includes the Geneva based Harry Winston production company and Winston’s global workforce, which has an excess of 500 employees.

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In a joint statement, the two companies revealed that The Swatch Group Ltd. (VTX:UHR) would have to fork out $750 million to acquire the brand from Winston. In addition, Swatch would have to assume as much as $250 in debt, pegging an estimate of $1billion on the deal.

The Swatch Group Ltd. (VTX:UHR)’s chairwoman, Nayla Hayek, shared her insight on the deal, citing that it would be instrumental in giving the company a competitive edge. “The addition of a jewelry-watch brand brilliantly complements the prestige segment of Swatch’s portfolio,” she said.

Under the deal, Winston, which also supplies rough diamonds on a global scale, will change its name to Dominion Diamond Corporation. This revelation was made by Winston Chairman, Robert Gannicott. Mr. Gannicott said that the deal would give Winston a sound return to its initial investment, citing the unfavorable sector landscape in the diamond market at the time Winston made an entry. “Today there is a range of diamond resource opportunities while the value of heritage luxury brands has increased dramatically. This transaction represents a sound return on our original investment,” he remarked.  The deal is however subject to regulatory approval.

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