Breitling prides itself as being a leading vertically integrated, independent manufacturer of Swiss luxury watches. Independent manufacturer in this case meaning it does not belong to any of the big luxury conglomerates such as Swatch, Richemont, Kering or LVMH. Breitling does however belong to a different type of group. Its owner is currently CVC Capital Partners, which owns a wide and diverse set of companies through its Private Equity operations.
As CVC Capital Partners’ name suggests, as much as they like watches they probably like capital even more. A Private Equity firm typically invests in a company with the aim to enhance the value of the underlying assets over a period of time, which helps them make more money at a later date. To this end CVC Capital Partners bought a majority stake (80%) in Breitling in 2017. In 2018 CVC then also acquired the remaining 20%. At the time, CVC introduced Georges Kern as CEO. Kern has since overseen a simplification of the product line and heavily invested in the brand ambassador strategy with Breitling’s “Squads” initiative.
Following a report on Bloomberg, CVC Capital Partners is reportedly considering selling part (likely a minority stake) of its shares. Potential investors are said to have shown their initial interest.