In a new interview with Bloomberg, Georges Kern, Breitling’s Chief Executive Officer, confirmed that Breitling is open to acquisitions. You read that right, acquisitions of new watch brands. In his own words: “We have a war machine, right?”.
Five years ago, CVC Capital Partners took control of Breitling AG. CVC is a global alternative investment manager focused on private equity, secondaries, and credit with a global network of 25 local offices and €133 billion of assets under management. When they took over, Georges Kern joined the venture and took the top job at the brand. Breitling has made a significant turnaround in those short five years, and is about to rejoin the “Top 10” Swiss Watch brands. As per Bloomberg, Breitling’s “sales are up another 25% by value so far this year, according to people familiar with the matter. The value of the business has jumped well above $3.1 billion from about $780 million at the time of the takeover”.
This success is what Georges Kern is looking to replicate at other “struggling brands” and he further states that the watch industry is ripe for (further) consolidation. This would imply that CVC Capital Partners would acquire new watch brands. The question is then, which watch brands are on his radar? The industry has been going through heavy consolidation the past couple of decades. The vast majority of brands are already owned by groups such as Swatch, Richemont and LVMH. Oris perhaps?
Read Bloomberg’s take on it right here