Swatch to buy luxury jewelry brand

Jan. 14, 2013 at 1:40 PM

BIEL, Switzerland, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group said it had agreed to buy the upscale watch and jewelry business run by Harry Winston Diamond Corp. for $750 million.

After the purchase, which includes a $250 million takeover of debt, Harry Winston Diamond Corp. would adopt the name Dominion Diamond and concentrate on the company's mining business, The New York Times reported Monday.

For Swatch, which recently ended a partnership with Tiffany, the move "is a great fit," said watch industry analyst Rene Weber at Bank Vontobel in Switzerland.

The purchase "fills the gap in the portfolio," he said, referring to Swatch.

Swatch Chairwoman Nayla Hayek, daughter of the company founder, Nicolas Hayek, said the Harry Winston purchase "brilliantly complements the prestige segment" of Swatch.

The deal "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 Robert Gannicott, chairman and chief executive officer of Harry Winston Diamond Corp.

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