Breaking News: Ulysse Nardin sold to Kering

This is the official press release more to come later… Please check on my blog, I have been announcing this since Baselworld 2014…


Kering acquires the haute horlogerie brand Ulysse Nardin
∞ An innovative watchmaking business built on outstanding tradition and
manufacturing expertise
∞ One of the few Swiss watchmakers to have its own production capacity for critical watch components, particularly regulating systems
∞ A highly profitable company with solid prospects for growth
∞ Great synergies with the Kering ‘Luxury – Watches and Jewellery’ division

Paris (France) – Le Locle (Switzerland). Kering and Ulysse Nardin have signed an agreement for Kering to acquire 100% of the capital of Ulysse Nardin. The brand will join Kering’s ‘Luxury – Watches and Jewellery’ division, headed by Albert Bensoussan, and the management team will remain in place. The deal is subject to the consent of the competition authorities and should be finalised during the second half of 2014.
Founded by Mr Ulysse Nardin in 1846 with its roots in the nautical world, the eponymous watchmaking house was taken over and re-launched in 1983 by Rolf W. Schnyder who transformed it into a highly profitable business in a healthy financial position. The company benefits from a very strong brand identity based on its historical expertise in marine chronometers and ultra-complication watches. Ulysse Nardin has long been one of the most innovative independent watchmakers. The brand was a pioneer in the use of cutting edge technologies and state-of-the-art materials like silicium, which today ensures that it has the in-house expertise, particularly in regulating systems, to produce its own components. Its coherent range of watches positioned in price segments that are growing and its efficient distribution network are also major assets.

This acquisition constitutes a structural development enabling Kering to strengthen its ‘Luxury – Watches and Jewellery’ division with a clearly positioned business that complements its other brands. Over and above the opportunity for Ulysse Nardin’s geographical expansion, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, it will enable the deployment of the numerous synergies linked to Ulysse Nardin’s technical and industrial expertise and its excellent distribution network – contributing to accelerate the growth of the whole division.

François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s Chairman and CEO, stated: “Ulysse Nardin benefits from a rich heritage, high profitability and solid growth prospects. Independent high-end watchmaking manufactures are rare. This is an opportunity that we had to seize, particularly because this structural acquisition will enable us to take advantage of numerous synergies with our existing brands. 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. In this regard, I am pleased that Mrs Schnyder accepted to remain a member of its board of directors. I have long admired Ulysse Nardin and I am delighted that this brand is joining our ‘Luxury – Watches and Jewellery’ division.”
Mrs Chai Schnyder, Chairman of Ulysse Nardin’s Board of Directors, stated: “Joining Kering is an opportunity for Ulysse Nardin. It will allow the brand to carry on with its international expansion and continue to innovate, while assuring the long-term future of its knowledge and expertise and the retention of its identity. I am delighted that Ulysse Nardin has found the best partner in Kering.”

About Ulysse Nardin
Swiss Watch Manufacturer Ulysse Nardin, founded in 1846, has been dedicated to excellence for over 168 years in manufacturing mechanical watches. Among the most reliable ever made, Ulysse Nardin’s marine chronometers are still sought by collectors around the world. Ulysse Nardin continues to be in the forefront of watchmaking technology by pioneering new materials in manufacturing high precision movement components and most innovative timepieces equipped with in-house created and manufactured calibers.

About Kering
A world leader in apparel and accessories, Kering develops an ensemble of powerful Luxury and Sport & Lifestyle brands: Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Brioni, Christopher Kane, McQ, Stella McCartney, Tomas Maier, Sergio Rossi, Boucheron, Dodo, Girard-Perregaux, JeanRichard, Pomellato, Qeelin, Puma, Volcom, Cobra, Electric and Tretorn. By ‘empowering imagination’ in the fullest sense, Kering encourages its brands to reach their potential, in the most sustainable manner.
Present in more than 120 countries, the Group generated revenues of €9.7 billion in 2013 and had more than 35,000 employees at year end. The Kering (previously PPR) share is listed on Euronext Paris (FR 0000121485, KER.PA, KER.FP).

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8 replies on “Breaking News: Ulysse Nardin sold to Kering”
  1. says: HCE

    UN may not have the cachet of a Patek, Lange or Breguet but it has been, from my point of view, arguably the most innovative watch company out there. I hope Kering does nothing to damage this. I also wonder what Ludwig Oechslin’s status with the company is going to be, now that the company has been sold. The last I heard was that he was due to rejoin the company sometime this year.

    – HCE

  2. says: Enta

    If you check Ulysse Nardin’s website, you will find it look like an online watches market instead of branding with heritage. I guess Ulysse Nardin needs to breath the outside world, and it’s the reason we see this acquisition.

  3. says: Guy

    I found UN somewhat out of the main stream, maybe even quirky but in an interesting way. I do appreciate their cloisonne dials and their complications. But when it comes to spending USD 70.000 for a watch there are many other watches to consider with much better name recognition. I have seen only one Freak on a wrist in public.
    Given you are agreeing with Pawel’s remarks and knowing a few of the brands Kering owns I must agree too. Maybe Kering bought these companies to manufacture their designs suitable for their markets? Maybe the names will disappear too? Sad in a way given the history of UN.

  4. says: Thomas

    I do not agree that UN is like GP. Pls compare both brands and then you will see that UN was far more innovative than GP. I think UN is in the wrong group of companies. Boucheron GP and Jean Richard are too much old school. And yes Alex 600 mio was too much. If they got 300 they can be lucky.

  5. says: Pawel

    Typical Kering – getting a brand that is far from being important in today’s market. First they get Girrard Perregaux, now Ulysse Nardin. That’s what happens when all the important brands are owned by Richemont.
    In my opinion Kering wanted a different brand, being unwilling to invest to make GP a success. But getting Ulysee Nardin is the same type of acquisition – good brand DNA, good heritage, nothing outstanding. It doesn’t move you like Lange, Breguet, Audemars, Vacheron. I don’t see the point in this acquisition.

    1. I fully agree with your comment! UN was for sale since Baselworld 2014. The price was 600 million at that time and no one wanted to buy UN. I wonder what Kering finally paid.

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