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Is this set to be a French/Aussie Revolution?
Is this set to be a French/Aussie Revolution?
 









Aussie RM Williams gets French twist

French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH is said to have acquired a 49.9 per cent stake in Australian retailer RM Williams, which includes its watches division.

The A$50 million investment will reportedly be made through L Capital Asia, a Singapore-based private equity firm backed by the European company.
 
Ken Cowley, RM Williams owner
Ken Cowley, RM Williams owner
According to The Wall Street Journal, a person familiar with the matter confirmed L Capital would also acquire the option to buy the remaining stake in the iconic Australian brand from owner Ken Cowley, at the same valuation. 
 
RM Williams has a range of men’s and women’s watches designed and distributed in Australia by Sams Group. More than 100 independent jewellery stores currently stock the watch brand but it is expected that the LVMH deal will not affect retailers. 
 
Cowley has owned the business since 2003 and was rumoured to be seeking offers of around A$100 million for the entire company.
 
RM Williams Overlander watch
RM Williams Overlander watch
Last month, it was reported that RM Williams was looking at "external" options for expansion to help ensure the future growth of the company in Australia and overseas.
 
The company was founded in 1932 by Cowley's long-term friend Reginald Murray Williams. Cowley, a former chairman and chief executive of News Limited and publisher of the Herald Sun, bought the business in 1994, along with Seven Group chairman Kerry Stokes, saving it from receivership.
 
RM Williams exports to 15 countries, has more than 50 retail stores in Australia and two international stores in London and New York. It also has 900 stockists worldwide. 
 
The deal would be L Capital's second Australian investment. Last year it bought into upmarket chain Jones the Grocer – a Melbourne-based group that has expanded into Asia and the Middle East.
 
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