Industry News, September 2014

Ulysse Nardin

Kering Buys Watchmaker

Ulysse Nardin

Kering, the luxury goods conglomerate formerly known as Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR), has acquired 100 percent of Swiss luxury watch brand Ulysse Nardin, an independent brand.

According to Reuters, “Ulysse Nardin was one of the last remaining major independent family-controlled luxury watchmakers in Switzerland after more than a decade of consolidation led by rivals Swatch Group, Richemont, and LVMH, a race Kering entered relatively late.”

“Kering, whose Gucci brand also makes watches, started investing in 2008 in independent watchmakers Girard-Perregaux and Jeanrichard. It bought control of the brands in 2011 and had long since been hunting for new targets.

“Ulysse Nardin gives Kering greater legitimacy and weight in the watchmaking industry, analysts said, as the brand is one of the country’s few integrated producers, in terms of parts and movements.

“It will give Kering precious independence from the industry’s top supplier Swatch, which started whittling down deliveries to its main rivals in recent years.”

A press release from Kering states that Ulysse Nardin will join Kering’s Luxury–Watches and Jewellery division, headed by Albert Bensoussan, and the management team will remain in place. The deal should be finalized during the second half of 2014.

Ulysse Nardin was founded in 1846 with its roots in the nautical world. The company has a strong brand identity based on its historical expertise in marine chronometers and ultra-complication watches. It was a pioneer in the use of cutting-edge technologies and state-of-the-art materials like silicium.

François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO of Kering, says: “Ulysse Nardin benefits from a rich heritage, high profitability, and solid growth prospects. Independent high-end watchmaking manufactures are rare. We have great ambitions for this company and we will help it continue its international expansion whilst staying faithful to its roots and its identity.”