CVC Capital Partners, one of Europe’s biggest private equity firms, with more than US$71 billion in funds, agreed to add Breitling to the list of companies they own, by acquiring an 80% stake in the Swiss family-owned manufacturer. The amount is undisclosed, but according to the Financial Times, the deal values Breitling somewhere between CHF800m and CHF900, based on their source with knowledge of the transaction.
As part of the transaction, Théodore Schneider, CEO of Breitling, will re-invest for a 20% shareholding in the company.
Founded in 1884 in Saint-Imier by Léon Breitling, the company today has more than 900 employees, with their headquarter in Grenchen, Switzerland, and two manufacturing facilities, one in Grenchen and the other in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
“I am convinced CVC is the right partner to elevate Breitling to the next level,” said Théodore Schneider, majority owner of Breitling SA. “CVC’s expertise, track-record and international network will help unlock Breitling’s full potential.”
Alexander Dibelius, Managing Partner and Head of Germany at CVC, commented: “Breitling has a proud heritage, high brand awareness, and enjoys an excellent reputation as one of the finest watchmakers in the world. We very much look forward to working with Théodore Schneider as we embark on Breitling’s next chapter of growth.”
“Using our network and expertise, CVC will work to make this global, iconic brand even more renowned and help shape the future of one of Switzerland’s last independent watch manufacturers,” added Daniel Pindur, Senior Managing Director at CVC. “Specifically, we see significant growth potential for Breitling in both existing and new geographies by driving the digitization of the marketing and distribution channels in the company, helping to enrich the product and customer experience.”
The closing of the transaction is subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities and is expected for June 2017.
Breitling highlights from Baselworld 2017
Probably one of the most important newcomers to the Breitling wrist-squadron is the Navitimer Rattrapante that introduces the new Manufacture Breitling Caliber B03, a split-seconds chronograph movement, one of the most difficult complications in watchmaking that allows the timing of two separate intervals that start at the same time.
There are two versions of the Navitime Rattrapante, rose gold with an MSRP of $47,600 CAD while the stainless steel version is $13,195 CAD.
For fans of neo-vintage watches, Breitling is resurrecting the Superocean Héritage from 1957 with the introduction of the Superocean Héritage II collection. There are two sizes for the diver model, 42 and 46 mm with a choice of black, blue, silver or “bronze” dial. They are powered by the COSC certified Calibre B20, which is based on the Tudor MT5621 (North Flag, Pelagos 2015, or the new Black Bay). In Canada, the MSRP of the Superocean Héritage II is between $4,900 CAD and $5’605 CAD.
The Superocean Héritage II Chronograph measures 46 mm in diameter and it comes in black, blue or bronze colours. It is powered by the COSC certified Breitling Calibre 13. Their price varies between $6,865 CAD and 7,235 CAD.
The Superocean Héritage II collection is waterproof to 200 meters.