Harry Winston Diamond Corporation announced today its plans to sell its luxury brand diamond jewellery and timepiece division to the Swatch Group for $750 million USD. The Swatch group will assume up to $250 million USD of pro forma net debt.
"At the time that we purchased the Harry Winston brand, resource investment opportunities for diamonds were rare and expensive following the euphoria of the Canadian diamond discoveries, and the involvement of the large international mining companies. The Harry Winston brand was competitively priced compared with its peers and we could bring diamond expertise and strategic connections to enhance value. 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. 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,” said Chairman and CEO, Robert Gannicott.
Rumours of Harry Winston’s interest in selling its luxury brand surfaced in October of 2012. Under the agreement, the Harry Winston luxury division will be renamed to Dominion Diamond Corporation and will continue to work with Swatch in the provision of polished diamonds. The companies also plan to explore the opportunity of a joint diamond polishing venture which would benefit from each company’s expertise in both manufacturing and diamonds.
"Harry Winston brilliantly complements the prestige segment of the Group. We are proud and happy to welcome Harry Winston to the Swatch Group family - diamonds are still a girl's best friend,” said Nayla Hayek, Chairwoman of The Swatch Group.