In a press release dated yesterday, Kering announced that it has acquired 100% of the capital of Ulysse Nardin. Ulysse Nardin will join Kering’s “Luxury – Watches and Jewellery” division headed by Albert Bensoussan, alongside brands such as Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard. Bensoussan was associated with the LVMH group for over 16 years previously, including a stint as Director for the Watches and Jewellery business unit for Louis Vuitton Malletier from 2003 until 2010.
Prior to this takeover, Ulysse Nardin has been under the Schnyder family’s ownership since 1983, when Rolf Schnyder took over the manufacture. Ownership changes aside, the management team will remain in place at Ulysse Nardin, including Mrs Chai Schnyder, who took over as Chairman of Ulysse Nardin’s Board of Directors after her husband’s death in 2011.
Mrs Schnyder stated that joining Kering will allow Ulysse Nardin to continue its international expansion, while “assuring the long-term future of its knowledge and expertise and the retention of its identity”. Similarly, François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s Chairman and CEO, opined that the acquisition will enable the group “to take advantage of numerous synergies with [its] existing brands”.
Despite rumours in 2013 that Kering was looking to acquire Richard Mille, the deal never went through. The acquisition of Ulysse Nardin, however, looks to be equally advantageous for the group, which will likely seek to leverage on the brand’s technical expertise. Ulysse Nardin is, after all, a true manufacture with the capability to create highly complicated watches, such as the Jazz Minute Repeater, a novelty at BaselWorld 2014. The original Freak timepiece by the brand was also the first in the world to utilise silicon in its escapement. In exchange, Ulysse Nardin will be able to capitalise on the group’s reach, to further its penetration into the Asia-Pacific market.
The deal is subject to the consent of the competition authorities and should be finalised during the second half of 2014.
Read the full story at WatchWOW.