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Swatch
Swatch

Swatch-Bulgari takeover rumours

The jewellery world was abuzz last week amid speculation Swatch is considering a takeover bid for the world’s third-largest jeweller, Bulgari.
In an recent interview in German magazine Focus, Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek Jr described Bulgari an example of an “interesting brand” which could be developed.
 
His simple comment sparked frenzied takeover talk in the jewellery industry.  Bulgari shares rose by as much as 5.3 per cent in a single day as market analysts weighed in.

“Strategically, such a deal would make sense,” Jon Cox, an analyst at Kepler Capital Markets, told Bloomberg. “Swatch wants to develop in jewellery and the Bulgari watch brand would fit well,” he said.

The rumours prompted Bulgari, which is 51 per cent family-owned, to publish a statement on its website declaring the company was not for sale.

“With reference to the rumours spreading on the market following an article published by an international weekly magazine, the company points out that, since long time, there are very good business relationships between Swatch and Bulgari [but] the two companies have never discussed any kind of transactions on shares. The Bulgari family is not interested in selling,” the statement read.

Swatch CEO Hayek then went on the record to say his company had never considered a Bulgari takeover.

"The Swatch Group has not expressed any desire to acquire Bulgari, and Bulgari has not expressed either the desire to be bought by Swatch Group," he told Reuters.

While the takeover talk fizzled out, Reuters reported that Hayek's comments cemented the view that mergers and acquisitions, which have been few and far between over the past two years due the downturn, could be back, buoyed by recovery prospects. 

Last month Bulgari reported a massive $70 million loss for 2009, despite a booming Australian market during the same period.

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