Thursday, April 24, 2008

LVMH Buying Hublot

Luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton said early Thursday that it reached an agreement to acquire Switzerland’s Hublot watch group from founder Carlo Crocco and a firm controlled by Jean-Claude Biver, who’s managed the brand since 2004.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but the company noted that the Hublot brand was “highly complementary” to its existing watch portfolio, which includes Tag Heuer, Zenith, Dior Montres and Louis Vuitton.

Last week, in disclosing its sales for the first quarter, LVMH reported that watches and jewelry, while still its smallest division in revenues, registered its largest sales gains. Organic revenues rose 19 percent to 211 million euros, or $316 million.

LVMH said that in 2007, Hublot had net revenue of more than 150 million Swiss francs, or $147.2 million at current exchange, backed by “strong profitability.” Distribution is limited to 300 stores worldwide, and price points exceed $250,000 for some of its more specialized pieces, such as elements of its Big Bang collection which use special metals and complex technical processes.

Philippe Pascal, chief executive officer of LVMH’s watches and jewelry unit, commented, “Hublot is a strategic and very complementary acquisition. Its high-end positioning, selective distribution, financial performance and growth potential make Hublot a ‘rising star.’ Hublot will strengthen our watches and jewelry business group which, over the last three years, has been growing strongly.”

He added that Biver and his management team would “continue on this remarkable journey and contribute his considerable expertise to our development in this promising sector.”

Source: WWD

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